I was walking through a store today and for some reason I started noticing the facial expressions of the people around me. It was amazing how much I was assessing and interpreting based strictly on their facial expressions.
It got me thinking about how unconscious most of us are to the expression on our faces as we move through life. We are however acutely aware of others’ facial expressions. In fact, humans gather a great deal of information from faces. There are nuances and complexities we are sensitive to far beyond if someone is smiling or not.
If you are frequently being misinterpreted or feel that people get the wrong impression about you it is likely that you are communicating something with your face that is speaking louder than what you are saying.
When I am giving a speech or conducting a training program I am extremely conscious of the facial expressions of the audience. If I see a look that I interpret as consternation or confusion, I check in with the person to confirm my assessment so I can clarify the information I am presenting. Very often, I am wrong. They report that they were thinking or having a breakthrough in some area of their life and were unaware of their facial expression.
Sometimes people don’t mean what their face is communicating.
I recommend becoming aware of two things:
1. What is your face communicating? Is it consistent with what’s coming out of your mouth? Start to pay attention to your facial expressions and it always helps to smile more.
2. How are you interpreting the facial expressions of others? Do you give more weight to what someone is saying or to what his or her face is communicating? Check out your assessment with them to see if it is accurate.
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