Smile

This article is part of the series “How To Win /friends and Influence /guildies”. See the introduction for more.

If you’re reading the original book alongside, this corresponds to Part 2, Chapter 2: “A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression”

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Shakespeare

Smile, eh? Can’t be too hard. Let’s see, engaging cheek muscles. Pull….pull… Damn, the left side’s a little off. Ok, now they’re even. A wee bit more…. and now I have the “Exhausted Cheeks” debuff.

I don’t smile much in real life. I think. I don’t make a concerted effort to, that much is clear. But I can identify with what Carnegie suggests in this chapter. Personal interactions are easier when you’re in a good mood, and it’s hard to maintain a sour mood in the face of someone who’s smiling at you (assuming the smile is genuine).

Now obviously we can’t smile at our online friends and guildmates, or the people we run random dungeons with, but the general principle still applies. Company call centres know this, teaching representatives how to smile over the phone when you call them.  Or at least they used to.  It seems that people don’t really smile at each other much these days.  Again, this trend carries over into our virtual lives.

How many times have you run a dungeon finder group and had only two people even say “hello”?  How many times have you done a guild raid without anyone saying a word?  Probably never.  Which one was more fun?

There are many reasons why playing with people we know is more enjoyable.  Familiarity makes talking easier.  You’re not starting from scratch.  You can tell jokes that you know people will appreciate.  You can continue conversations that started days or weeks ago with your friends.

I’d go so far as to say it’s pretty hard to participate in a guild raid without cracking at least one smile, even if you’re not aware that you’ve done so.

Did having fun with your guild make you smile?  Or did smiling make playing with your guild fun?  Ah, there’s the question.  Action doesn’t follow feeling – the two are entwined.  If you’re feeling down, act as if you weren’t and you’ll find that you soon feeling better.  So suggests the philosopher William James at least.

The camaraderie and feelings that playing with your friends brings about is real and enjoyable.  So why do we tend to hide it away when dealing with people outside our circle of friends and acquaintances?  The way that people react to someone who smiles (physically or virtually) doesn’t help – is that the smile of the happy or the smile of the insane?  But you can try to smile over the wire when you’re out and about in WoW.

Looking back at some advice about maintaining your guild’s reputation on your realm.  When you meet non-guildies while playing, you don’t know what aspects of your behaviour will impress on them.  They may be all agog over your gear, or bowled over by your achievements.  Or perhaps they appreciate your ability to talk clearly about your guild and what you like about it.  Or maybe they’ll forget all of that and just remember that the mental image they formed of you is of someone smiling.

While it may seem as though Cataclysm is a long way off, recruitment season will soon be upon us.  Rosters will shrink over the summer, and you can’t pin your guild’s success on having all of those people come back for the launch of Cataclysm.  You will be trying to bring in new people, and the impression you leave upon them will play a part.

So smile.  Just once.  Right now.  Hold it for 20 seconds, then queue for a heroic.  And in the way you speak and act, make sure people know that you’re smiling.  You never know what might happen.

Next thursday, we’ll cover chapter 3: “If You Don’t Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble”.

This article is part of the series “How To Win /friends and Influence /guildies”. See the introduction for more.

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