After first beginning as a salesman, Dale Carnegie went on to become a renowned public speaker, author, and teacher. Over the decades, his books and training courses have influenced millions—helping people to build confidence and become more effective managers, businessmen, and public speakers.
I read his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, shortly after I finished college. Over time, I realized that while Mr. Carnegie did not overtly focus on the spiritual dimension, he intuitively recognized how to approach people in a way that was up-building and honored each person as God’s creation. Inspired by his writing, I added my own insights and created the acronym, SINGLE, to help me recall some of the most prominent ideas. Each letter represents a different practice, and I’ll be sharing these with you today and over the next few weeks.
Use this powerful technique, and you won’t even have to say a word!
What technique? Smile!
There are three ways we smile at others:
- The Natural Smile
We smile when we feel good, or we’re happy and content. We also smile when other people greet us or smile at us. We call this a social smile. God made us for relationship. Our smile becomes part of the way we connect with others.
- The Phony Smile
Sometimes we don’t want people to know we really feel, so we hide behind a fake smile. Unfortunately, there are also those who use this facial expression to manipulate people. Others smile when delivering sarcastic remarks. It’s hard not to feel hurt by these abuses because something meant for good is used to do evil.
- The Gift Smile
We also can give someone a smile when we want to show our appreciation, to honor them, or to build them up.
Unlike the natural smile, we don’t have to feel good on the inside to express these things through our facial expression. We may even feel tired and irritable.
Indeed, these are the times when our smile is this the most precious, for we choose to rise above our selfish misery and give someone else a gift. Are we phony when we do this? Not if it expresses our true heart and intent.
What happens when we give a gift smile? The other person wants to smile, too. They feel appreciated, valued, cared for, and connected. At these times, we become a sign of God’s love to others.
The blessing we give also returns to us. That’s because God designed us to love, and we experience joy when we give to others.
Your assignment is…
- Make a decision to honor, appreciate, and build up those around you.
If in your heart, you know how God loves you, this isn’t a big step, because that love wants to be shared with others. Just the same, the gift smile starts with a decision we make to give to someone else.
- Express your decision with a smile.
I think of my smile expressing the good I desire for the other person, and I often couple it with a prayer for that person.
- Don’t be surprised if you have to explain.
Gift smiles catch people off guard. They’ll wonder what you’re up to or what you’re thinking. If they ask, then just tell them the truth.
Transform Your Relationships Using the SINGLE Approach is part of a series on relationships and the Christian faith.