They call it ‘Smizing’.
You may never have heard the phrase before, but I’m pretty convinced you’re already an expert at whether people are doing it or not.
To ‘Smize’ is, as Tyra Banks of American’s Next Top Model fame informed us, to smile with the eyes.
No, I haven’t lost the plot, bear with me.
Communication, we all know, is a complex thing; filled with thousands of tiny nuances that can completely change the meaning of any interaction. A recent awareness of the importance of ‘Smizing’ has really brought home to me the need to be authentic in the way we as individuals, businesses and brands communicate.
What am I talking about?
One of the ways the pandemic has changed our lives is the advent of the facemask. I’m all for masks as a method of fighting the spread of COVID-19 19, but there’s no denying covering our mouths and noses has had a major effect on the way we communicate. Put simply, it’s now incredibly difficult to see a smile. The simple action of pulling back our lips and showing teeth, as a method of indicating friendship and empathy has been largely lost to us.
In the absence of the traditional smile, we look to other non-verbal cues to indicate subtleties in of communication: tone of voice is one, hand gestures are another. For me, the ability to indicate a smile with your eyes is central. It’s one of those things that is incredibly difficult to fake. We all know people who smile with their mouths while their eyes indicate they’d rather be somewhere else, doing anything else. Without the mouth, (a much easier indicator of a traditional smile) to fall back on, many of us are now looking to the eyes to show the authenticity of the communications we’re having.
Anyone who can’t Smize, in Covid-19 ridden 2020, is at a distinct disadvantage – their eyes indicate a real or perceived lack of commitment to their communication.
It struck me that being able to pick up on subtle intricacies of communication isn’t just limited to ‘reading’ someone’s eyes. When we engage with content, whether that be social, traditional marketing or B2B, are we picking up practically imperceptible hints that the message is inauthentic? Most of us would find it very difficult to describe the difference between ‘Smizing’ eyes and those which don’t engage, but somehow, subconsciously, we pick up and interpret these cues. It’s the same with marketing content.
It’s too easy for a brand’s blogs or social feeds to fall into the trap of going through the motions. As Eric Morecambe once said, they are playing “All the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order”.
For me, it’s essential to take a step back from the content we create and attempt to look at it with the eyes of someone who isn’t invested in its success.
Does it engage?
What do I mean by that?
Put simply, is it the type of material that I would actively connect with, even if I wasn’t initially attracted to the product or service it promotes? Does it have a life of its own? Is it attractive, funny, or thought provoking outside of the ‘job’ it’s supposed to do?
If our content doesn’t engage in this way, I’d suspect that (like someone who can’t Smize) it has many elements of good communication, yet something blocking an authentic connection.
Next time you write, read or view a bit of content, ask yourself this question:
Is this content Smizing at me?