Now that we are in the season of regional and national speech competitions, students are assessing their wardrobes and tournament attire one more time. No one should overlook one of the most important items we own. As the saying goes, “You’re not completely dressed without a SMILE.” Prior to attending Nationals (or any speaking event), practice smiling in front of a mirror and learn what smile suits you best. Be sure to engage eye muscles in conjunction with upturned lips. Look natural and believable. There is a growing body of research which explains the value of smiling. [Link] An appealing smile is one of the most important elements of a good first impression. It also is the first “message” of any speech.