How to Give a Sincere Compliment

Has someone ever given you a compliment and you subconsciously questioned their motives? Perhaps it was even subconsciously. Maybe you just downright wondered if they wanted something in return.

It’s nice to give compliments. It’s better to give unquestionably sincere ones. The kind that leaves no doubt that you meant what you said and that you expect nothing in return. Sometimes we just throw out complements in kind of a mindless fashion. We mean what we say, we just don’t put enough thought into it to make certain the person on the receiving it knows how sincere we are.

An unquestionably sincere compliment actually has two parts. The compliment and the evidence to back it up. Think of it this way; you give someone a compliment and then notice this look on their face. The look indicates that they are wondering why you said that.

So don’t let them wonder. 

Immediately after giving the compliment just add “and the reason I say that is.” The “reason” is the evidence. It adds depth to the compliment, it supports it’s sincerity. It leaves no doubt as to your motive for giving it. The compliment becomes more valuable. 

This takes a bit of work, it requires some thought before you just toss out the next “nice job” compliment. It’s worth it however when you see the difference in how people respond to what you’ve said. Give it a try and see for yourself. 

I can’t end a post about giving compliments without at least mentioning the proper way to receive one. 

Never give a compliment back. By that I mean when someone says “nice shirt,” don’t respond by saying “this old thing.” When you say that you’ve just refused the compliment and may even have offended the person who gave you the compliment.

The only proper way of responding to a compliment is to say “thank you.” Nothing more is needed. Just say thanks! 

Hey, while we’re at it, thanks for reading this post.  

9 thoughts on “How to Give a Sincere Compliment

  1. Great article. and the reason I say that is we need to be reminded to be genuine. I have a suggestion for a subsequent topic. I’m often nonplussed by someone making a self-deprecating remark when they receive a compliment. It’s hard to respond back without digging a hole that is hard to get out of. I think effective leaders should know how to handle the situation but I’m baffled.

  2. Nice post Steve. Great combination of authenticity and care in people skills! I have shared this post on my Google+ stream and would love for you to join our Google+ PeopleSkills community. Interested??

    Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coachâ„¢

  3. Your post brings up an interesting point I had not previously considered, but we often need to gain another’s trust before we can compliment. Otherwise, there is always that suspicion as to what it is we may want from them.

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