The Power of a Smile: How a Smile Can Make All the Difference in Your Success

By | July 6, 2017 |

Smiling has real benefits—and it just might help you achieve success at work.

Your own positive feelings can influence others, whether they are colleagues or members of your own family — this is called the concept of “emotional contagion,” according to Sigal Barsade, an expert on how positive — and negative — emotions can affect others.

“Largely unconsciously, we catch the emotions of the people around us like viruses,” says Barsade, a professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s hard-wired into us: we mimic the facial expressions of others. But we also feel the emotions and take them on as our own.”

Smiling can help bring on a happier atmosphere, which is more likely to bring positive results, particularly at work. “If you regularly walk into a room smiling with high energy, you’re much more likely to create a culture of joy than if you wear a neutral expression,” Barsade says. “Your employees will smile back and start to mean it.”


Putting on a happy face probably isn’t on your day-to-day checklist at work, but it could pay dividends for you and your team at work. Just looking the part can translate into a happier response — smiling for 30 seconds can impact your emotions and decisions. This is due to a physiological process called facial efference.

“One of the things we know is that being in a mildly better mood — not feeling euphoric or in a neutral mood — leads to more analytical decision-making,” Barsade says. “You can sway other people’s feelings even if you don’t truly feel positive, and you can sway your own feelings, too. Engaging in positive emotion can lead to better practices all around.”

Try This on the Road

You can experience the positive effects of smiling when you’re on the road. Maybe you feel tired from a day of travel — but the smile from the person welcoming you to your hotel can help you end your date on a better note. Hungry and the hotel restaurant has just the meal you need to fill your belly and energize you? A smile to your server can help you feel more appreciative.

If you miss your family while on the road, smiling while talking over the phone (even if they can’t see you) can help you appreciate your loved ones back home, and vice-versa. Since connecting with loved ones is one surefire way to bring a smile to your face, Holiday Inn has teamed up with Scholastic to offer the chance to share a virtual bedtime story with your kids. Borrow a stand for your smartphone and choose a book from our lending library in the lobby, and read to your kids over video chat. Find more details here. It’s just one of the ways we’re working on bringing you many smiles—and success—ahead.

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