A smile can be a powerful communication tool. It can help you connect with people at work. Whether you’re talking to peers, subordinates, or supervisors, a smile can make a big difference in how you’re perceived.

The problem is that if your smile isn’t genuine, it can undermine your effectiveness. Here are some tips from a leadership consultant about what makes your smile look artificial, and how you can make it more genuine.

Woman with a Genuine Smile looks into the camera. What's missing from your smile?

Smiling for Too Long

A smile is a dynamic expression. It should rise and fall with the natural course of emotion. If you keep a smile on your face for too long, people perceive it as being a fake expression. And they’re probably right: it’s possible to smile for a long time, such as when you’re hanging out with good friends, but if you’re really watching people’s smiles, you’ll not that the smiles come and go–they don’t just stay in place.

A Flat Smile

A flat smile is one that doesn’t show off genuine emotions, and people can tell. Often that’s because the flat smile is just in the mouth, not in the eyes. When your eyes are smiling, what’s called a Duchenne smile, it’s usually perceived as genuine. It’s easy to control the smile muscles around the mouth. It’s harder to control the ones around the eyes, and not everyone can do it.

When you look at your smile in the mirror, check to see whether it’s just your mouth that moves, or if your eyes do, too. If you can’t crinkle your eyes when you smile on command, you have to try to make yourself feel the emotion if you’re trying to smile in public. Instead of focusing on making yourself smile, think of something that makes you happy, which will naturally make you smile. Another trick is to have a friend who’ll flash you a smile as you begin–this can make you want to smile back–it’s instinct!

Your Smile Doesn’t Match What You’re Saying

On the other hand, your smile can look artificial if it doesn’t match what you’re talking about. If  your mind wanders as you’re talking, and a smile comes to you because of an unrelated memory or idea, it shows your audience that you’re not really paying attention to them or to what you’re saying.

For this, there’s no good shortcut–you just have to stay engaged in the moment and communicate what you need to with attentiveness and speed–if your mind is wandering in your presentation, you can bet that the audience’s is, too.

Feel Comfortable and Confident in Your Smile

Your smile can’t look genuine if it’s not. And it won’t be a genuine smile if you’re self-conscious about your teeth. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, you’re more likely to want to squelch a smile than to share it freely.

Your smile is part of your personal brand. It helps you make a good first impression, and it makes sure people don’t forget you. But what can you do if you’re unhappy with your smile? Cosmetic dentistry can help. Whether your teeth are just a little discolored, or if you’re missing one or more teeth, we have solutions that can restore the beauty of your smile.

To learn how cosmetic dentistry can help with your smile, please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment with a New Jersey cosmetic dentist at the River Edge Dental Center for General & Cosmetic Dentistry.