The American humorist, Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” It is amazing how much nourishment comes from a sincere compliment well received.
Can you think back to the last time your boss, spouse, parent, child, neighbor…anyone, gave you a compliment or said something nice to you? I am willing to wait. How did it feel?
Can you think back to the last time you gave a compliment to an employee, coworker, boss, parent, child, spouse, neighbor, friend…anyone? How did you feel when you gave the compliment? How did it make them feel?
Focusing on the feeling of receiving and/or giving a compliment will lead you to make more compliments. These feelings are positive feelings and in times of pandemic, recession and general anxiety – they may be the boost you or someone else needs.
A compliment should be sincere, kind and meaningful. If it is not genuine, it will be taken as such.
How can you make better compliments?
First, remember that everyone is different, and someone might value a certain compliment more than another. Rather than focus on what you feel is important, try to think about what the person you are going to give the compliment to feels is important. What do you think they would like to be complimented on?
Second, be specific. Rather than saying, “you are a great leader” say “I really like how you lead. You are detailed and catch stuff the team might miss. You motivate us to do ____ and that makes us better.”
Third, be real or genuine. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.
Fourth, use a question to prompt a conversation. Rather than saying, “You are so good at _____.” say “You are so good at _____. What’s your secret?” This shows interest in the person and allows you the opportunity to learn more about the person.
Fifth, practice. Don’t go overboard but make an effort to give at least one sincere, meaningful compliment every day. Tack a compliment onto an expression of gratitude (“Thank you. I really appreciate your smile and the way you make me feel when I shop here.) Write a compliment letter and send it to that person’s boss or spouse. Write a positive review. Spread the compliments around.
If you are lost at what a compliment is, do an internet search. There are hundreds of examples of compliments to become familiar with (remember to be genuine and make the words yours.)
As Robert Orben said, “A compliment is verbal sunshine.” Scatter the sunshine and compliment someone.
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