“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”-Mark Twain
Can our compliments have that kind of impact? Try these simple steps and see.
1.) Be Real…
Of course we would never want to wound someone’s feelings. However..that being said, it’s often wise to check our motives. Are your words a form of manipulation, designed to promote your own agenda? Is your compliment more about getting them to like you as opposed to honestly commending and validating them? Let me give you an example from my own life. For 20-25 years of my life. I looked like this:
and every 3-4 months, “Gertrude” would say to me “Shelly are you losing weight? You look great!” I’d smile and thank her for “noticing”, but since I was piling on the lbs at a pretty steady clip, what exactly was she noticing? Here’s the kicker: In the last 6 years I’ve lost over 230 lbs, I see “Gertie” twice a week and not once has she ever acknowledged my weight loss in any way. Did Gertie have an agenda? I can’t say, but it did teach me an important lesson about the difference between a sincere compliment and flattery.
2.) It’s All About The Details..
I hate the word “nice”. To me it’s the literary equivalent of the color “beige”- Inoffensive, unobtrusive, kinda just there. Saying “Jen, you’re such a nice person” tells her nothing useful. But what if someone said this instead: “Jen, when I started working here, you introduced me to everybody and included me in the conversations. You even invited me to lunch. Thank you.”
3.) Something In The Way They Make You Feel…
Many people have a really hard time accepting compliments. They feel the need to deflect the praise or minimize their accomplishment. What I’ve learned is that if I tell them how their actions make me feel, they can’t argue with that. So back to Jen, let’s now tell her how her actions affected us: “Jen, Your kindness eased my nervousness those first few days, I felt included right away, a part of the team”