You can't train a smile

I have often said that the most important thing about a business is its people. When you boil it right down, a business is simply the people who work for it – nothing more, nothing less. If you hire brilliant people, you have a far better chance of building a brilliant business.

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We got talking about this in Brazil this week, where Nicholas Peluffo and his father Daniel have built a wonderful hotel company employing lots of great people. Daniel, who initially suggested his English wasn’t up to scratch, before speaking eloquently for hours, pinpointed one key difference in his staff: their smiles.

“As an employer, you can train every single other skill you need in your staff. You can train them to learn new techniques or do different jobs; you can train them what to do and what to say. But you can’t train a smile.”

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He is absolutely right. When somebody smiles at you, it is immediately clear whether the smile is genuine or forced. You can tell if the person’s eyes shine and their whole face lights up, or if their lips simply upturn a little. You can tell if the person is happy and sharing their happiness with you. This is untrainable.

There are few greater gifts than a smile. As Max Eastman said: “A smile is the universal welcome.” Next time something really makes you smile, share it with the person next to you. 


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