Sunday, May 10, 2009

Smile When You Say That

Here is a tip to make you a more effective chairman of a board, CEO of a management team, or director in a board meeting.

It comes from Andy Andrews, an inspirational speaker and bestselling author whose messages of hope, faith, and perseverance have resonated with the multitudes. I just dipped into his book, Mastering the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success [Thomas Nelson], and jumping right out at me was this choice piece of advice.

"I've often wondered," Andrews writes, "what I would say if somebody ever brings me in to speak and says, 'You've got one minute on stage and this is the last minute you'll ever speak in your entire life—tell them one thing that can change everything.'

"I've got the secret. Are you ready? It's going to blow your mind because it's so simple. You can learn it in a couple of days and it will change everything.

"Here's the secret: Smile while you talk.

"I'm not saying 'smile a lot' or 'smile at everyone you meet.' I'm saying SMILE WHILE YOU TALK!

"Very few people do this. Watch ... In everyday conversation, the vast majority of us speak to others with a serious or bland expression on our faces.

"Learn to smile while you talk, and your life will be forever transformed. And if you throw in a little chuckle while you're talking, even better. Why will everything change? People cannot help but smile at somebody who smiles at them!

"You want people to join the church softball team? You want them to buy a house from you? You want them to sign the deal? You want them to be a client forever? You want them to contribute to a cause? Learn to smile while you talk!" 

So there you go. Try it in your next board meeting. See if it makes a difference in the culture and collegiality of the boardroom and in your personal effectiveness in the board's discussion and decision making. I know I will.