Lately, I’ve been thinking about how our weaknesses are also our greatest strengths, if you flip your perception around. I’ve always thought that it’s a giant weakness that I do not have a poker face. I’m learning how to play mahjong and I can’t keep from smiling when I draw that perfect tile.

One look at me in a discussion and you know what I’m thinking. When I’m working with clients, I always have to tell them this is my thinking face while I’m working out a story problem on the fly so that they don’t interpret it as dislike.

I just decided that my lack of a poker face is a superpower. In an age where everyone puts their fake face forward on Instagram and over Zoom, being authentic builds trust. With me, you know what you’re getting. My enthusiasm is unmistakable.

Like all strengths and weaknesses, I have to learn to work it to the best advantage. It is not strategic to let everyone know what you are thinking and feeling all the time. (Especially in a corporate environment.) If you’re an open book like me, here are three ways to guard your reactions.

1. Smile while you are listening and talking. Smiling conveys intentional listening. It is hard to roll your eyes or snort in disgust when you’re smiling.

2. Take notes. If you are writing or typing, you are looking down, making your expression harder to read.

3. If you are on video and the meeting is challenging, turn off your camera. Then you can roll your eyes all you want.

What weakness can you turn into a strength at work? And if you have more hints about how not to have a poker face, I would love to hear them.


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