We talked before about how smiling could help your small business, but even if you’re not a small business owner, smiling can make a big difference for you in this economy.

Smiling helps sales, and sales are, frankly, most of what we’re doing. Whether you’re on the car lot, in the boardroom, or being interviewed: you’re selling. A car, your ideas, or even yourself, you may need the edge to make a sale, and your smile can be that edge. A Duchenne smile, also known as a “genuine” smile, is actually something many people can fake, if they’re confident in their smile.

handsome young man shows off his smile

About the Duchenne Smile

The Duchenne smile gets its name from G.B.A. Duchenne de Boulogne, a French physiologist who was interested in how our muscles worked. In the 1870’s, he used electrode stimulation of facial muscles (somewhat related to the TMJ treatment TENS) to explore the muscles of the face and how they worked together to create facial expressions. Duchenne found that by placing electrodes at a certain place on his subject’s face, he could make the subject smile. But it wasn’t a real smile. It lacked something–the twinkle of the eyes, the narrowing and crow’s feet that come with a true happy smile. What was missing was the smile in the eyes.

Duchenne tried to force himself to contract the eye muscles around the eye and found he couldn’t do it voluntarily. So he checked with a few of his friends, and when he found they couldn’t do it, either, he declared that people couldn’t control these muscles, couldn’t fake  a true smile. Seriously, this is how science was done in the nineteenth century.

Since then, science has discovered that many people can fake Duchenne smiles. The key is that people can’t actually be feeling bad, and they have to be able to imagine themselves experiencing a true, happy emotion.

Duchenne Smiles Impact Sales

Most of the time, research has been done on the impact of Duchenne smiles on print and static images, but it’s clear from this work that these smiles can impact your ability to make sales.

Some recent work emphasized that “emotional contagion” (essentially, an infectious smile) could make people feel happy about a product without evaluating it.

Another study showed that a Duchenne smile made people more inclined to feel good about a product and decide they wanted to buy it. The study used models and static images, but it’s likely the same for a salesperson.

But, you may be saying, I do all my sales over the phone. Doesn’t matter. People hear a Duchenne smile in your voice.

Currently, there’s no word about whether they can read it in an email or text message, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they could!

Give Your Smile a Touch-Up

As we noted before, some people actually are able to fake a Duchenne smile. In the experiment, people were able to do it when they imagined themselves feeling truly happy, and they weren’t otherwise sad or distracted.

If you want to be able to show off a truly confident smile, cosmetic dentistry may be able to help. We can talk about your concerns about your smile and recommend appropriate treatments.

To learn more about how our dentists in Spokane can help you, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics today.