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Workplace blogs

The Hump Day Humor-Gram, March 16, 2005, Issue #124

In this issue . . .

1. Just Put on a Happy Face
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
3. Deep Thought of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World
1. Just Put on a Happy Face : )

There’s much more to the saying “turn that frown upside down”
than meets the eye. Or the mouth, for that matter.

According to scientists Ekman and Friesen, our facial
expressions not only reflect our emotions, they help create
them. They discovered that facial expression alone is enough
to create significant changes in our autonomic nervous system.
Create an angry-looking face by lowering your brows, narrowing
your eyelids and tightening your lips, and you can make your
heartbeat increase by 10 to 12 beats, and raise your body

This even translates into how we perceive humor. German
scientists showed that folks who read cartoons with a pen
clenched between their teeth (thus forcing them to smile),
found the cartoons much funnier than the volunteers who read
them with a pen clutched between their lips (which made them

There are a few lessons to take away from this. First,
according to Ekman and Friesen, we have about 3,000
facial expressions at our disposal, so we should all remember
the power of our faces to communicate our true intentions.

Secondly, we really do need to smile more! Not only because
researchers have found that waitresses who smile more get
higher tips; or that the smile is the facial expression
seen from the greatest distance; or that studies have found
that people who smile more are seen as being more attractive,
confident and intelligent; or that smiling is seen as one
of the easiest ways to build trust with another person and show
the world that someone’s actually home; BUT because it’s GOOD
for us! So be selfish and start smiling more.

Thirdly, the next time you watch a comedy, listen to an in-law’s
story, or come and hear me speak, clench a pen between your teeth,
not between your lips. . . : )
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

This comes from a recent client of mine. Each week they designated
a different word or phrase of the week, and any time throughout
the course of that week that someone, whether it be a client or
co-worker, uttered the phrase of the week, everyone who heard it
had to break out into an enormous cheesy, toothy smile.
3. Deep Thought of the Week

A person who can smile when things go wrong has
thought of someone else they can blame it on.
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World

While most North Americans are prone to say “CHEESE!” to force
a photo finish smile, many Czechs are now opting for the very
modern “fax.” The Japanese prefer “whiskey,” while some
Australians use “money” as their smile trigger. Swedes use
their word for an “omelette,” the Danes use “orange,” Spaniards
use “potato,” the Koreans go for “cabbage”, Chinese smile for an
“eggplant” and some Persian Farsi folks are just peachy
about “peach.”
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2005
Author and international speaker Michael Kerr delivers keynote
talks and workshops on humor in the workplace, business creativity
and public speaking skills. Reach Michael at 1-866-609-2640
or surf him up at

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