How effective are you at communicating during both voice-only and video calls? In a classic experiment, researchers led by the University of Portsmouth’s Amy Drahota found that listeners could often successfully discriminate between voice recordings of speakers who were either smiling or not smiling. In addition, listeners were more successful than chance at distinguishing between so-called non-Duchenne smiles (in which the speaker smiles only with the mouth) and Duchenne smiles (in which the speaker smiles with both mouth and the muscles around the eyes).
Some people misbelieve that non-Duchenne smiles are always fake and only Duchenne smiles are genuine; however, a more nuanced way to think of non-Duchenne smiles is that they are sometimes fake and sometimes simply less intense but still genuine smiles. Regardless of the difference, the point is that listeners can hear auditory cues associated with smiling.
Effective communication and persuasion rely on a combination of both words and manner. When making voice-only or even video calls, be careful not to focus only on the words you are using. Consider that your facial expressions may affect your tone of voice and inadvertently convey characteristics such as a lack of energy, boredom, or irritation unless you actively monitor and manage them.
When faced with unpleasant situations such as injustice in the workplace or being made redundant, it is natural to feel distressed. However, multiple studies suggest that writing intensively about such events may have tangible career benefits.
A classic study by Stefanie Spera, Eric Buhrfeind and James Pennebaker looked at the speed with which unemployed individuals were able to find work. The researchers found that unemployed individuals who wrote about their thoughts and feelings found work measurably more quickly than those who wrote about non-emotional topics or who did not write at all.
Humans are not robots: negative emotions can greatly impair our performance and focus. Writing about feelings and worries allows us to process them, alleviating negative emotions and restoring productivity.
To lessen the impact of injustice at work or unemployment, spend three consecutive evenings writing about your situation. Explore your deepest emotions and thoughts in relation to both your professional and personal life. You never need to share your writing with anyone else so be totally honest with yourself. Don’t worry about spelling, sentence structure or grammar. Simply write for at least 20 minutes for each of the three consecutive evenings to speed the process of emotional recovery and enable you to move on.