Spooky Presentations – When Botox Makes You Say “Boo!”

“Eyebrows up!” I say this to my clients every day. “Don’t be a poker face, raise your eyebrows, and smile!” When speaking to a group, displaying a flat face is like playing a zombie in one of those Halloween movies—you come across as lifeless and boring, just like the living dead. Keeping a poker face when you speak shows little interest in your topic or your audience. That’s why it’s important to raise those eyebrows!

Research tells us that there is power in your eyebrows. When used naturally and in synch with your message, raising your eyebrows shows your curiosity, enthusiasm, and awe. Raising your eyebrows creates excitement, even a sense of joy—it shows you are interested and interesting. It’s one skill that will capture attention and radiate confidence.

I take this whole eyebrow thing very seriously, so much so that the swoosh over the DeFinis logo is…you guessed it…a raised eyebrow!

So you can understand my dismay at what I’m seeing today—an entire generation of people who can’t raise their eyebrows because they’ve had Botox injections! Sure, they no longer have wicked witch style wrinkles, but now they’re left with a face that’s ghostlike, immobile, and for an audience, flat-out scary.

I know that the purpose of Botox is to make you look younger. The chemicals relax the facial muscles and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, especially the deep crevices in the forehead and above the bridge of the nose. But Botox also impedes your ability to raise your eyebrows, because the very muscles that create the wrinkles are the ones you need to move that part of your face.

And this is a huge limitation for the public speaker. Yes, you may look younger and your skin may be smooth and ageless, but you can no longer express a range of emotions, including your natural curiosity and awe. Without this ability, you lose one skill that can help you connect with others and come alive in front of a group.

Mind you, I’m making no judgment here on those who have had Botox treatments. But as a speech coach, it’s downright creepy to think that so many people can’t use a variety of facial expressions that engage audiences.

Can you still give a great presentation if you’ve had Botox? Absolutely. But you have to compensate by using other skills, such as your physical skills, your smile, your gestures, and your voice.

 

In any event, I guess I’ll have to get used to it and adapt, because I’m sure Botox is here to stay. Dr. Frankenstein would certainly approve!