How to Decode Different Types of Smiles and Become a Better Non-Verbal Communicator

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned over a year of remote work and Zoom calls, it’s that non-verbal communication can speak volumes. While you may not think anything of that half-smile you shared when a coworker told a joke that didn’t land — that’s actually one of the many different types of smiles and by understanding even a few of these smiles, you can better understand and communicate with others. 

Strengthening your nonverbal communication is one more way that you can become a better coworker and employee. And while it’s easier to pick up on these cues in-person, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for when you’re trying to determine if someone is giving you a genuine grin. 

Here’s what to look for:

  • Look to the lips: A real smile will cause the corner of the mouth to lift, because they employ the zygomatic muscles of the face.
  • It’s all in the eyes: Genuine smiles also incorporate the orbicularis muscles around the eyes that cause the corners of the eyes to wrinkle (also known as crow’s feet). 

Now that you know how to spot a genuine smile, Auraglow has created this helpful infographic that details 12 different smile types and what category of smile they fall into to help you navigate this complicated portion of the nonverbal communication world with ease. Here’s to more smiling and better smile understanding in your future.

Types of Smiles