Last week was World Smile Day and it made me think about how important smiling is in any business.
Building relationships is an integral part of most businesses, whether you meet people face to face or only ever contact remotely. Smiling is a crucial part of building that relationship – if you meet people, a smile and eye contact really help with customer relations. But for many businesses, including my own, most communication is done virtually. Can smiling help build your business even when no-one sees you?
On the Phone
I always try to smile on the phone. It has been suggested that over 80% of the meaning of a message on the telephone is down to tone of voice. A University of Portsmouth Study showed that smiling affects how we speak, to the point that listeners can identify the type of smile based on sound alone. The listener detects your smile even though they can’t see it and, as a smile makes you sound warm and friendly, it is worth adopting the tricks of some call centres to remind you to smile on the phone.
In an email
Emails are perhaps one of the most abused methods of business communication. How many times have you received an abrupt email to which you have sent a brusque response? There are many times when my hackles rise and I am tempted to reply in a similar terse manner. Often the original author did not mean to offend, they just didn’t think about how they were sending the message.
Whilst an email is generally less formal than the old-style business letter, you do still need to abide by some rules to keep your email communications professional and retain your business relationships.
The most basic piece of email etiquette of sending an opening greeting and closing sentence. An email should always start with a brief, warm greeting e.g. “Good morning,” “Good afternoon” or “Hi” and the name of the recipient. It should end with another pleasantry such as “Many Thanks” or “Best Regards.” By smiling when you send emails you will relax and that will be reflected in the tone of message you send out.
A few weeks before International Smile Day it was Roald Dahl Day and this quote of his caught my eye on Facebook:
"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
As a Virtual Assistant my clients usually don’t see me, but, by having good thoughts that make me smile, hopefully I always sound lovely.
How do you make sure your loveliness shines out like sunbeams?