Winner’s smile. I heard this wonderful piece of wisdom from (of all people) Floella Benjamin, the former TV presenter and now children’s campaigner.
A friend and colleague once related a story of election night 1997. As part of the team behind a doomed Tory candidate, she instructed everyone to keep smiling as the votes were counted.
The press were confused, everyone was confused. The candidate was expected to be defeated, yet those around him were smiling and the journalists present began to suspect a major surprise. There wasn’t, of course, but the team did not depart acting like losers. They left unbowed and ready to fight another day.
The brilliant Andy Murray would do well to follow this example on the tennis court. When Nadal or Federer lose, they give the impression that it was just a battle but they will ultimately win the war.
Of course, smiling can go too far. Alex Salmond is good at smiling through all situations, although he has to watch smugness. Tony Hayward, ex BP Chief Executive certainly didn’t strike the right facial expression, having famously said he would have been better with an acting degree.
Floella’s point was not to act like a loser. If you do, you will be treated as one. It is a good thought to take into 2011.
Elizabeth Lambley is a director with Indigo, with over 25 years’ experience of both in-house and agency PR. She has climbed Munros and walked the West Highland Way.