The Elements

By Judith Bowman   |   January 5, 2016

Your Resting Face

Categories: Blog, Communication, Human Element

Facial Expressions


Most of us aren’t aware of what our natural facial expression is saying about us – without us saying a word!  To anyone who isn’t sure, ask someone you trust to tell you the truth about your natural facial expression.

Today, social media has a name and an acronym for this called BRF, “Bitchy Resting Face.” (It’s clearly geared toward women.) That said; both men and women need to be aware of their natural facial expressions. Men, although, seem to be more adept at holding their “game face” which, interestingly, has nothing to do with being “bitchy.”

Our “natural facial expression” or the “resting face” conveys powerful information and sends signals ranging from disinterested, devilishness, or depression to viscous, vivacious, – even vacant!  Emoticon options already programmed on our i-devices readily list 40 random “faces” to attach to texts and emails to reflect and share our mood, reinforcing how we “feel” literally, as we post.

People who have experienced unrelenting life adversity acquire a sad face (mouth and eyes turned downward); their difficult lives evident.  We all experience life challenges.  However, remember people are naturally drawn to positive looking people and positive energy.  Therefore, it behooves us to put on our “game face” in public which only happens with practice in private.  People who look “happy” are perceived as happy and are generally deemed more likeable and trustworthy.  Smiling is a silent signal of affability and acceptance which also varies culturally in the world, in the U.S., and even here in dear old (conservative) Boston!

Cultural aspects aside, it is important to positively project; fake smiles are transparent.

  • It takes more facial muscles to frown than it does to smile… smile with your eyes too!
  • Frown lines are unattractive; happy smile lines are beautiful; both speak to the inside person.
  • Plastic surgeons today are being asked to surgically correct natural frowns which wouldn’t even be necessary if, like posture, we were more aware and would consciously practice every day.

Remember, gravity is already at work naturally pulling down your mouth, facial muscles, and eye lids; all controlled by muscles.  Like any muscle, they need to be exercised.  Practice exercising your eye muscles to lift and project a more alert and alluring natural facial expression.

BRFs aside, the fact is people judge us and make business decisions based on facial cues and body language. Use your natural facial expression to send the message you are a positive, disciplined, approachable person and advance your business relationships.


To work with Ironstone or our affiliates, contact us at 1.800.917.8020, email us, complete our “contact us” form, or join the Ironstone – Financial Industry Professionals Practice Management Group on LinkedIn and start a discussion.

The foundation of our Performance Coaching and Consulting Programs are based on Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, which is essential to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Our ultimate goal is to help you avoid trial and error; shifting your mindset to launch your process of intentional change. [LEARN MORE]

Photo credit: ©iStock/Getty Images

Judith Bowman
Business Protocol

Judith Bowman founded Protocol Consultants International in 1993 and has prospered to become an established Business Protocol expert, educator, corporate speaker, and renowned authority in the field of Professional Presence, Dining Savvy, International Protocol Awareness, and personal and professional development. Ms. Bowman also provides Protocol Certification. She is a graduate of Boston College and has pursued studies in Effective Business Communication at Harvard University.

Ms. Bowman speaks to critical interpersonal communication skills and shares specific nuances advantageous to exemplary conduct in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive global work environment. She showcases everyday business situations and shows professionals how to leverage these as opportunities to demonstrate respect while earning respect – while showing you know “the difference” while making a difference to stand apart and outclass the competition!

Ms. Bowman has authored two business protocol books: “Don’t Take the Last Donut…” (Career Press) presently sold in 16 countries, translated in 14 languages, and her new book, “How to Stand Apart @ Work …” She has authored a weekly Everyday Etiquette column syndicated throughout New England for ten years by the Pulitzer Prize winning Eagle Tribune Publishing Company. Internationally, she authored a Business Protocol column for the prestigious Noblesse Magazine, China. She presently writes a weekly Business Protocol column for Boston Herald newspapers and has a coordinating weekly radio segment, “A Protocol Moment” on Herald Radio.
She also writes a monthly Fabulous Woman series which features truly fabulous women who have shattered the glass ceiling and has been featured in Leader to Leader, March, 2015.

Bowman has produced a series of support products which include: Executive Etiquette/First Impressions DVD, DINING 101 DVD and Protocol Training DVD – from her on-line How to Stand Apart series.

Learn more...

Leave us a comment, get our blog posts delivered by email, or email the Ironstone Team.

We would love to hear from you!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital
Connie Deianni
Mentoring and Employee Engagement
Guest Blogger
Practice Management
Dr. Heidi Maston
Organizational and Educational Leadership
Joe Kuhns
Strategic Partner
Judith Bowman
Business Protocol
Laura Garfield
Idea Decanter Co-Founder
Marsha Schechtman
Strategic Partner
Mighty 8th Media
Strategic Partner
Nicole Anglace
Special Projects
Ruthann P. Lacey, P.C.
Elder and Special Needs Law
 Scott D. Calhoun
Legal Counsel
Sharon Gottula
Idea Decanter Co-Founder
Strategic Partner
Practice Management


Thanks for your inquiry!

We will be contacting you shortly. In the meantime please feel free to connect with us on social media and explore our blog posts.

Ironstone understands the importance of protecting your privacy. We will not sell, rent or give your name or address to anyone.

Latest Blog Article

Ten Tips to Maximize Mentor Program Longevity

Building a mentor program is more than just selecting great mentors and eager mentees. The key to building a great mentor program is understanding the problem you are trying to fix, correct or eliminate. Before you even put your finger on the keyboard, you need to be very clear on what needs to change by […]

Read More>