When you enter a room, notice how the people invite you. Do they smile and make eye contact? Do they avoid your glance? Remember the first time you entered your first freshman classroom. You may not have been able to make eye contact with anyone in the room or maybe you scanned the room for familiar faces. Or maybe you have a meeting that you believe is going to be difficult and your mood is already assuming it’s going to be terrible. So you enter the room without smiling at anyone, already succumbing to this bad energy. You’re already thinking about the drink you deserve after work which you are promptly going to post on Facebook.
I heard someone say recently, “Does your face light up? Do they see in your eyes that you are glad they are here?” She was speaking about how you treat your children but really, we are all children regardless of our age. It seemed to me that all of us could use this in our daily lives whether we had children or not. We all crave acceptance at some level so to be greeted with a smile, even from a stranger, gives us a moment of inclusion and acceptance.
This is what I’ve been working on for several years and I believe it has made a big difference with my work relationships and with my personal ones. Now, let’s enter that room again, but this time greeting everyone with a smile, a casual comment about something funny you watched on YouTube or a joke you remember. Giving those around you a moment to be human, to be real, to be caring and to show regard for another life trying to live through this day and do their best. The tone of the meeting feels different now and maybe the meeting will go just a little bit better this time.
Even if you are fearful or shy or anxious, remember that each time you see someone you know or meet someone for the first time, it is a gift to have the opportunity to greet someone with a smile. Maybe, just maybe, a smile offered genuinely to someone else, could make the difference in their day. And it didn’t cost you anything.