She’s the subject of one of the world’s most well-known works of art, but nobody is entirely certain who da Vinci’s Mona Lisa really is. The piece holds more than its fair share of mystery, and one of the things that keep its six million or so visitors each year guessing is the enigmatic smile on the face carefully depicted. No one knows who she’s smiling at or why and, while it adds to the intrigue of the masterpiece, it demonstrates the power of the smile.
Scientists around the world have dedicated years of research to investigating why we smile and how it can affect our experience, and they have discovered that it is a cross-cultural expression which shares meaning in different societies. And, a smile really is infectious — spotting one spread across the face of someone else (even a total stranger) suppresses our ability to control our own facial muscles.
Researchers have theorised that copying a smile can help us to gauge the meaning of the original and whether it’s genuine. And a smile isn’t just the product of a happy feeling, it can make us feel positive, too — providing stimulation equal to 2,000 chocolate bars or receiving up to £16,000 in cash. Further studies even found that people with wider smiles are likely to lead more fulfilling, happier — possibly even longer — lives.
It’s no surprise that smiling makes us look good to others, helping us to appear more likeable, courteous and even more competent — that’s why we think it’s an important part of providing great service.
It might only be a small part of what we do, but we know how far a smile can go in helping you enjoy your experience and being served by someone with a smile makes a big difference. It all begins with making sure each of our people are happy in their workplace, and we do everything we can to make sure they’ve got every reason to be sharing a smile with you.
Source: Gutman, R. (2011). The Untapped Power Of Smiling. Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/03/22/the-untapped-power-of-smiling/. Last accessed 1 Dec 2014