I just finished shooting a quick video message for a client. If you have ever had this experience, you know that once you are finished and ready to post the video on YouTube, you are offered a selection of 'thumbnails' from which to choose. A thumbnail is Internet slang for a small freeze frame (picture) from your video.
I am always amazed how the thumbnail options from which I have to choose are almost inevitably ones that are less than flattering. My mouth is wide open, my eyes are closed, or I have an expression on my face that would frighten small children!
Then I started thinking about this a bit more deeply. The only reason those thumbnail options are offered to me is BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I LOOK WHEN I AM SPEAKING!
I've always been animated, especially when I am speaking on a topic that excites me. Some might argue that this animation is an asset in my profession as a speaker. But what about in my life in general? How's my thumbnail in everyday life, I wonder.
I caught my reflection in a window the other day. I had a concerned look on my face. I had, indeed, been thinking of something important in my life -- something serious -- and it was literally written all over my face. I wonder what people who saw that expression thought of me. Might they be drawing conclusions about my friendliness and my approachability?
How about you? How's your thumbnail, right now? Is it a picture of approachability? Is it a message of openness? Is it one that inspires confidence from your manager? Is it a thumbnail that engages trust? Is it a face that the people you care about hope to see?
I remember hearing Maya Angelou being interviewed a few years ago. My children were tweens at the time. She said something that really resonated with me. "Do your eyes light up when your child walks into the room?" I had to take a real, hard look at myself as a parent when I heard that. I think, often, I was so focused on what needed to be done, that I forgot to pause and just appreciate them walking in the door (so that my eyes could light up with gratitude before I started barking orders about what needed to be done).
I also thought about whether or not my eyes light up when I see my husband, when I get together with my girlfriends, and when I meet with a client. I hope they do.
I am certainly not suggesting that you have to walk around all day every day with a huge smile plastered on your face, just so people don't think you are cranky. I am suggesting, however, that you increase your awareness of what's written all over your face. What would your face communicate if it were suddenly freeze-framed?
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment here.