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Your Facial Expression Can Make or Break You


By Emilie Shoop, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting

{#/pub/images/Yourfacialexpressioncanmakeorbreakyou.jpg}My arms are crossed…am I approachable?

We all know that crossing your arms usually means you are closed off. But have you thought about your facial expression lately?


Often when I begin working with people on their leadership or team skills, one of the areas we focus on is communication. It’s always fascinating to have people stop and think about the messages they send throughout the day. There are so many verbal, non-verbal, written, and implied communications that most people don’t even know they sent.


Over the last few days, I’ve had several different interactions with clients, groups, and friends. For some reason, my facial expression radar was on high gear, and I was catching lots of little nuances that were casting different messages than what was intended. It is so important that you consider your whole message, not just the words you use.

Facial Expression: Eye Contact

Let’s say you are at a networking event and meeting a potential client for the first time. You are chatting, asking lots of questions, doing all the right things. But what are your eyes doing? Are you constantly looking around the room for the next person you can hand your card to? Or are you showing the person you are talking to that you are paying attention to them? Regardless if you can look around and listen at the same time, you are showing the person you are talking to how important they are if you look around too often.


Maintain eye contact with the person you are talking with. If you can make them feel like they are the only person in a crowded room, you have mastered this skill!

Facial Expression: Hard or Soft Eyes

My favorite example for hard or soft eyes is Puss in Boots from Shrek. His super power is his soft eyes that you just can’t be mad at. Don’t know what I’m talking about?


When you are talking with someone, are your eyes relaxed or hard? Not something you probably think about much, but your eyes are very telling. Try to relax your eyes, you will be more approachable. And it will reduce the stress lines on your face!  :)


Facial Expression: Smile

It’s amazing the difference a smile can make in an experience. There are many times when I am checking out with a cashier and think, “If s/he would only smile it would make a huge difference in my shopping experience at this store.” It is so easy to get caught up in getting the job done that we forget about the simple little steps, like smiling.

Several of my close friends have an almost permanent frown or scowl on their faces. They look so stressed all the time. When I  introduce them to someone new…after they walk away the new person will either:


1) ask what was wrong with them or

2) think they didn’t like him/her

When I did a little deeper, it’s always because of the scowl!  Is that the message you want to send out?  Is that the message you are sending out?


Smiles are contagious! The next time you are in a conversation, a simple smile can completely change the tone. Relax your jaws and just show your natural grin.


Your facial expression can make or break you.

People make decisions about whether or not to work with you based on how you make them feel when they are around you. Paying attention to these 3 facial expressions will help you start to attract people, instead of keeping them at a distance!

It takes people to get any job done. The more people you can surround yourself with that want to help you, the better!


Written by Emilie Shoop
First Time Manager or Supervisor Expert for ManagingAmericans.com, Creator and Leader of Shoop Training & Consulting


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