Our face is so expressive, no matter how much we try to hide our emotions. Your facial expression will give that away, but sometimes, it can also land you in uncomfortable situations as well. There can be many critical situations where you can’t express your emotions straight away.
Knowing how to keep a straight face or a poker face is an important skill and can help you in many situations. Whether you are in an important interview or playing a game of poker, or are in the acting profession, knowing how to keep a straight face is an advantage.
However, in a professional setup, you can’t always express yourself, and if you are someone like me who is very expressive, this can put you in trouble. But don’t you worry, as today I’ll be sharing 10 effective and practical tips that have helped me to keep a straight face. So if you also want to know how to keep a straight face, then keep on reading.
1. Distract yourself
It’s all in your head! So if you see or are reminded of something funny and have trouble controlling your smile. Then the best way to keep a straight face is by distracting yourself from the thing you are finding funny. However, don’t zone out completely, as you don’t want to seem rude or unattentive.
For instance, if you are in a meeting or in a class attending a lecture. You can distract yourself by looking at your notes so that you don’t seem uninterested or rude to the other person. This is the best way to save yourself from the embarrassment of laughing at the wrong time.
Moreover, if you are playing a game of cards and you don’t have something to distract you. You can look at your feets this is a technique used by many poker players as well to keep a straight face and not give away their cards.
On the other hand, you can think of something else, and this will help you keep a relaxed face. Or just start counting backward in your head this is a tried and tested method which is also used for anger issues as well to distract yourself from the issue.
2. Be a good listener
One of the biggest problems with keeping a straight face is that we don’t pay enough attention to what the other person is saying. And you always have something to say or something going on in your mind. Thus, even if someone else is saying something, your facial expression will give it away from what you are thinking.
So to overcome this, you’ll need to learn how to be a good listener first. Moreover, listen to understand, not reply back. This was something that I personally struggled with, too, as before someone completes their sentence, I’ll have my point ready. This makes any conversation ineffective, and you will also come across as a rude person.
One tip that I would like to give you is that if someone is sharing their experience with you, then take an interest and ask questions so that they know that you are genuinely interested in listening to what they are saying.
3. Practice what you have to say
If you are finding it difficult to keep a straight face while performing any act or cracking a joke in front of an audience. My advice would be to rehearse a few times before actually performing in front of the audience. You can also practice the things you are going to say while interacting with the audience.
On the other hand, if you are bluffing while playing a game of cards, then distract yourself by not talking about the obvious or try not to talk about the game but instead talk about something else.
4. Take a deep breath
This is one of the most effective ways to keep a straight face or a poker face. It’s psychologically proven that you can’t breathe and laugh at the same time. Thus, this is a foolproof method to control yourself from laughing at the wrong time.
Most importantly, do this smartly, and don’t let other people know that you are about to laugh. You can use this technique over a call as well when you are on the verge of laughing taking a deep breath can save you from embarrassment.
5. Bite your cheeks from inside
If you are feeling that nothing is not working, you can’t even take a deep breath. Then try biting your cheeks from the inside this is the best way to distract yourself. However, this can be a little painful, but then that’s the whole point of it to distract yourself.
But bite your cheeks from the inside without making it obvious. Moreover, to cover up and hide this, you can even put your hand on your face or just pretend to wipe your face by swiping your hand across your face.
This little pain will help you hold your expressions and not make it obvious that you are trying to hide your facial expressions. This will immediately help you to control your reflex to laugh or smile.
6. Pretend to cough and cover your mouth
Initially, it is difficult to control your facial expressions or laugh, and if you are afraid, you might give it away. Then this is the best way to hide your smile just play smart. Pretend to cough or sneeze and just cover your mouth. However, try to make it look as natural as possible.
However, pinch your lips while doing so and cover the corner of your mouth. Furthermore, the best thing is that you can take advantage of the pandemic and just wear a mask if you are finding it difficult to keep a straight face.
This is the best way to save yourself from getting into an uncomfortable situation and just will help you hide your smile. Just be clever and show a little bit of smartness while doing this and make it look natural.
7. Go with the flow
If you are performing in front of an audience or giving a presentation, this tip will work wonders for you. If your act doesn’t go as you planned, then don’t hesitate or laugh just go with the flow and remember the show must go on, no matter what.
Don’t let it show on your face that you have messed up something. If you have watched the popular show Emily in Paris, you know It’s all about confidence, and most of the time audience doesn’t even notice that you have fumbled. Just remember not to make it obvious by laughing or smiling, and try to keep a straight face by using the above-mentioned ways.
Dont get stuck on what happened just move ahead and go on with what you have to say next. This will really help you and will boost your confidence as well.
8. Control your body language
More than facial expressions, your body language speaks much louder. Hence, keeping control over your body language is equally important. You’ll need to master the art of body language and try to maintain your posture.
Moreover, make eye contact with the other person or with the audience and maintain a straight posture. Many professionals are experts in reading body language, as it can tell a lot about someone’s personality. Thus, Keeping control over your body language will eventually help you keep a straight face or a poker face.
9. Think of something serious
One of the best ways to distract yourself and keep a straight face is by thinking of something serious. This can immediately control your laugh and maintain a straight face. It will take your mind off the topic that is making you smile.
I know this can be a little challenging, but this is a popular technique that is also taught in acting classes as well. After practicing a few times, you’ll be able to master this technique and think of something serious.
Moreover, this technique is also tricky, as thinking of something serious can ruin your day or affect your mood. However, once you see this technique working, you’ll be able to manage your mood, and trust me, you’ll not regret this.
10. Try not to laugh Challenge
A really popular trend that can help you to master the art of keeping a straight face is by watching the try not to laugh challenge. These videos are compilations of many funny moments, and you can practice by yourself.
Moreover, these videos can be of great help as these videos challenge you to control your laugh even when you are on the verge of laughing out loud. Many youtubers and influencers also make videos while doing this challenge. This can be really hard but will help you keep a straight or poker face.
Social media is flooded with such videos, watch and start practicing how well you are at keeping a straight face.