Smiling is one of the most important ways in which humans communicate with one another. A smile says that everything is okay, that you can relax, and that there’s no danger here. In addition, a smile helps to put the person you’re talking to at ease. And there’s often a mimic response, as well. When a person sees a smile, they usually return it, and that makes them feel positive about the interaction.
The benefits of smiling during events are pretty obvious. At a conference or networking event, a smile conveys that you’re excited to be there and optimistic about your future. The same goes for smiling at an interview. Combine a smile with other body-language cues like making eye contact and speaking strongly and clearly, and you’ll be well on your way to making a positive impression that can lead to job opportunities.
You should smile even when the person you’re talking with can’t see your face, such as during a phone interview. Smiling actually has a noticeable effect on the sound of your voice. The muscles that you use to smile change the shape of your vocal cavity and raise your pitch, which makes you sound less threatening. The human brain has evolved to detect that change in pitch, and the person on the other side of the phone will “hear” your smile. The effect on them will be the same as it would be if they were seeing it.
If you’re having difficulty smiling during a stressful situation such as a job interview, you can use a mirror to coax your smile out of hiding. For phone interviews, get a small mirror and place it near your phone. When it comes time for your interview, look at yourself in the mirror and find something to smile about. You’ll see yourself smile, and your brain will assume that because you’re smiling, all is well. This positivity will linger as your interview begins. You can apply the same principle to in-person interviews, as well.