Kool Derby

I recently caught an Asiana Airlines flight from LAX to Seoul, South Korea. It was my first time flying this airline, and the opportunity provided an excellent customer service lesson. I was impressed with how the Asiana flight attendants made the flight enjoyable by using their smiles. I commented to a friend that the experience was warm and pleasant mostly because the flight attendants made the passengers feel welcome.

The smiles from the flight attendants were genuine. One could tell they enjoyed their work, and they were willing to do whatever possible to make us feel at home. Their smiles made them feel approachable. Even though I flew in the “Economy” section, I felt comfortable asking for a couple extra Diet Cokes on the trip. When I did, the flight attendant responded, “Sure, Sir. I will get it for you.” For those of you who fly enough, you understand that many flight attendants often make you feel like it’s a burden to accommodate these simple requests.

#1: Your Smile Indicates Happiness

When you meet someone new, he or she makes a judgment about you within 3 to 7 seconds. This means you have little time to waste. By genuinely smiling when you first meet someone, you give the impression that you are excited about life, and that you are happy to meet that person.

From a business perspective, a smile can open the door for future business. You want others to feel comfortable around you, and our body language is usually the first indication of how receptive you are to meeting others.

#2: Your Smile Communicates Humility

Not every smile shows others that you are humble, but a real, warm, and sincere smile shows that you respect others. A person can show they are down-to-earth and approachable by smiling. You want others to feel they can talk with you, and share ideas.

A humble approach is critically important in a business setting. Your colleagues and employees are more likely to provide valuable feedback when you use a sincere smile to encourage participation. Further, a smile can calm others during a time of crisis or chaos.

#3: Your Smile Indicates Confidence

A genuine smile indicates that you are confident about yourself. It has to be real, and not forced. Research indicates that others can quickly determine if your smile is sincere.

Here are characteristics of a genuine smile:

  • Involves the whole face, including the eyes
    Shown by a tightening around the eyes
    Other non-verbal communication reinforces your sincerity

Successful people attract others with their welcoming smiles. You make it clear that you care about others, and desire to know more about them.

An important takeaway here is that a smile makes you feel good. From a physiological standpoint, smiling triggers the release of endorphin, which send a message to your brain that makes you feel good, confident, and satisfied.

Smiling will not solve every problem for you, but it will allow you time to focus. More important, it will make you a happy person, and others will enjoy your company.

During my 13-hour flight to Seoul I learned that the flight attendants had mastered the skill of creating a positive experience for the passengers. It had little to do with the food, beverages, or comfortable environment. Instead, the terrific experience was mostly attributed to their genuine smiles.