Hillary -- To Smile or Not

Meet the Press just had a long discussion about Hillary and the criticism and consequences of her smiling or not. The truth is she doesn't smile very often at all. Main point: when men tell her to smile more, women of a certain age become enraged because they remember back to the old days when any assertive, ambitious woman with a serious demeanor was told to " smile more".

Why? Because back in the 70's and 80's men needed to begin adjusting to women's new image-bending, door-knocking and entering where we had not been before. And the smile was that old recognizable lady-look that reassured them that we were still girls and not such a threat.

Well, here's a feminist and a communications guru who says Hillary SHOULD smile more! But not for the old reasons. It's to create an electorate of Hillary-lovers who'll make sure she'll win. And they're not all there yet, by a long shot.

See, Hillary is a brilliant, seasoned politician who has always led with her head, not her heart. Her head is her comfort zone. Always a virtuosic student (she was first in her Yale law school class, Bill second!) she had reason to rely on her brain to move her ever higher.

But she's in a different business now. And the last time she tried this business, she lost. What's the business? It's building trust, even affection, in strangers. It's getting strangers to relate to you, to feel that you're a real person, like them. That you understand life as they know it and are recognizably human enough to know what they need. George W. won because everyone said "I could drink a beer with him". He was recognizable and human enough to get voters to relate to his easy style -- not his brain, God knows!

But Hillary has it all, if only she'd let it all show. Here's an example of what she doesn't get and why I hear too many people say " Sure she's qualified but I just don't like her" .

When she won five states on the last Super Tuesday, the ballroom was filled with cheering supporters. Hillary appeared but instead of smiling, waving and recognizing the love in the room, she perfunctorily gave one or two smiles and launched right into her speech. Leading with her head not her heart. Not taking the time to relate to her audience, to join them in joy, but telling them what they need to know. And each time they applauded her points she barely nodded and went right on, stepping on their cheers and applause.

It was a great speech but she just doesn't understand the dynamics of audience interaction. And that's a shocker. With all her staff of advisors don't they see it? She's very smart. Just explain the principles: the value, the necessity of reaching out personally to any audience, her potential supporters- how to do that, what effect it has and why.

In all my years of presentation coaching, everyone needs to learn the dynamics of persuasion. Why haven't Hillary's people helped guide her into presenting her whole self, the head and the heart?

She should have learned from 2008 when she amazingly won New Hampshire because she cried a little during a campaigning speech, making her recognizably human and one with her audience. They went right out and voted for her because they felt they could trust this kindred spirit - her strengths and her visibly human weaknesses that she let them in on. Don't cry, Hillary--but do smile and reach out to your audience. Let them see and love you!