How to Give a Compliment

Ever wondered if a compliment you received was sincere? Others wonder that about the compliments you give sometimes too. 

Every compliment you’ve ever given may have been sincere and heartfelt but sadly some people do use compliments to manipulate others. That can make even your sincere compliments suspect too.

If you want to make certain that your compliments are received with the same sincerity as they are given then prove that they are sincere.

Just like with anything else you hope to prove you’ll need evidence to offer as proof.

An unquestionably sincere compliment really has two parts, the actual compliment and then the evidence that supports it as true and sincere.

For instance, I could merely tell someone that they did a nice job. They can then begin to wonder what I meant, they can wonder if I really meant it and they can wonder if I’m expecting “something” in return. In short, they can wonder about my motives. 

If you’ll just put a little more effort into the compliments you give you can take all the wonder out of them.

As an example… I tell someone that they did a nice job. Then I add…”the reason I say that is because I used to do that job. I can tell by your results that you paid great attention to the details required to achieve that excellent result. Not everyone cares enough to do that, I appreciate that about you, your results say a lot about who you are. You truly did a great job!”

There is not a whole lot to wonder about there. In almost every case a compliment, when backed up by evidence showing why you paid the compliment in the first place, will be accepted at face value. The more specific your evidence is the less wonder there will be.

It’s not a lot of effort to make the compliments you give truly matter but there is one more thing you can do to make them truly last.

Put them in writing! Investing 5 minutes to write out your compliment, with the supporting evidence, will make an even bigger difference than just saying it. Investing a few minutes to write out your compliment can increase it’s significance ten-fold. 

It takes so little yet it means so much. If you’re going to give a compliment then really, really give a compliment. 

Try it, I can almost guarantee that you’ll like it and I can absolutely guarantee that the person you compliment will love it! 

3 thoughts on “How to Give a Compliment

  1. In addition to my private coaching practice I’m a faculty leader at Coach University. In the Acknowledgement course we discuss compliments vs. acknowledgements.

    Steve, the example you gave takes a compliment to an acknowledgement. A compliment is more about the complimenter vs. the complimentee. An acknowledgement speaks to who the person is. It’s a great acknowledgement if you can speak to the value of the one being acknowledged. You did a nice job of doing that in your example.

    Steve, what I admire about you is your willingness to submerse yourself in the Twitterpherse, and tweet drivel after drivel each Saturday on a consistent basis. This demonstrates how disciplined you are which I’m sure spills over into your professional life. Your weekly drivel also demonstrates your willingness to be vulnerable and display your full personality. A great quality of a leader.

    • Thanks Steve, I used to consider the drivel to be “useless” Fun Facts but I’ve actually found a good use for the drivel… especially this time of year with so many social gatherings.

      When “trapped” in a conversation with an individual that I would prefer not to be conversing with I just recall and share a couple of “facts” and they can’t wait to end the conversation and get away from me.

      The Fun Facts have “saved” me more than once. I appreciate that so many people enjoy them but I’ve now found a way to use them for myself as well!

      I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season Steve, I’ve “met” some great people on Twitter and you’re certainly at the top of that list.

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