In a recent workshop on Leadership Presence, one of the participants shared that her manager often asked her if something was upsetting her.
She was mystified, because as far as she was concerned she had been fully engaged and positive in the meetings. When she asked why he thought that, he said she often looked upset. That was when she realized that her look of concentration and thoughtfulness was in fact being interpreted as consternation.
So, the question is what exactly does your facial expression say about YOU? You will often hear me say, that your “Brand” is how you show up in other people’s minds, and the fact is your facial expression plays a big part in that.
As you know, you don’t need to be speaking to communicate. Nonverbal language is Para-language and the look on your face truly does speak a thousand words. Behavioral therapist, Dr Albert Mehrabian famously said that 93% of the overall way we are perceived comes from our non-verbal communication. This includes our voice and vocal intonation, but in large part it is our body language and facial expression.
With this in mind, it would be very helpful to become very conscious of your facial expression at all times.
Are you sitting in meetings frowning, looking distracted or are you looking engaged, with a relaxed demeanor? I am not suggesting your grin or even smile, but I am suggesting that you consciously try to relax your facial muscles, look engaged and ensure that your face reflects interest and positivity. I am also not saying you should hide your emotions, but I am saying that the power of your facial expression to impact the overall way you are perceived should not be underestimated!