This article is continued from Part 1 of The Gift of Compliments.
Context: When you compliment, make sure there’s a reason! Understand the person and the situation and behave accordingly. Opinion: Don’t give canned compliments. Offer your own personal opinions, not someone else’s and avoid the “Big Red Button Syndrome.” Truth: Leave a lasting effect on your people by being genuine. You’ll find yourself more influential and respected.
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s continue on with Part 2 of “The Gift of Compliments.”
Be Genuine, it’s Only Fair
Giving compliments can really help you motivate others. It helps create a mutual respect between yourself, your employees, and your friends. For example, haven’t you ever felt loyal to a coworker, manager or friend who’s put their faith in you? That’s exactly what good-hearted compliments do as well!
Some believe that compliments are always bogus or that there’s always an ulterior motive (“She doesn’t really mean it! She’s just being nice or she wants something from me!”).
Just like you wouldn’t appreciate being the receiver of distorted feedback, don’t hand it out on a silver platter and serve it to others. Be genuine. With sincerity comes respect and rapport, both of which help build prosperous relationships.
So instead of being afraid of portraying yourself as artificial, do the opposite: be genuine and be generous with your compliments. Don’t let this misperception prevent you from providing constructive comments. After all, whether your opinions are accepted shouldn’t be of concern to you. You’re just providing your honest feedback!
If You Have Nothing Good to Say, then Don’t Say it at All!
So you might be asking, “But what if there’s nothing good about a person that I compliment about? What if they’re hideous in every way possible? Don’t I have to fabricate some feedback then?” The answer is no way.
Have you ever heard the famous phrase, “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say it at all?” Well this definitely applies!
Like we alluded to earlier, ensure that there is a context, otherwise you’ll be sniffed out and lose your credibility. If you’re looking to build rapport and respect between you and your people, but can’t seem to find a single positive trait about a person, then you’re not looking hard enough! If you look deep enough, you’ll find at least one trait that stands out. Once you find it, your compliment will be backed up with the truth and you’ll (hopefully) appear completely genuine.
Receiving with a Smile
While the focus is on the gift of compliments, we should briefly mention the flip side to have a better overall understanding. Just as many people have trouble conveying positive feedback, there are those who find it difficult to accept compliments too. It’s not as though they don’t appreciated receiving a positive comment, but rather, they don’t know how to accept the respect shown to them.
It’s often a fine line between modesty and arrogance. In the interest of modesty, people’s perspectives are often altered when receiving compliments. So rather than accepting a compliment at face value, you’d hear them go to great lengths to disprove an otherwise true fact simply because they want to appear polite.
You hear it all the time when people discredit their accomplishments because they don’t want to appear snobbish. They may timidly utter: “No, it’s really no big deal! It’s nothing special!”. Or instead, their hesitation is conveyed through an awkward smile or a blush of the cheeks.
Accept the Gift and Show Your Gratitude
Rather than discrediting yourself with the hopes of appearing down-to-earth, smile and show your thanks. The most important aspect of receiving any type of gift is saying, “thank you.” Receiving constructive feedback is no different. It’s crucial!
The first thing you should say when receiving the gift of a compliment is say “Thank you! That’s so nice of you. It really means a lot coming from you!” Now not only do you feel great, but you made the gift-bearer feel just as special creating a special connection that may lead to bigger and better things.
Understanding why people are hesitant to dispense and receive constructive feedback will allow you to avoid similar behavior and act more appropriately. Now that we have a better idea as to how the gift and receipt of compliments work, we’re in a better position to treat the people around us with the respect that they deserve.
Next time you find yourself congratulating a coworker, subordinate, sibling, or friend, just remember that you’re comments really make a difference.
Have a compliment? Comments? I’d love to hear both positive or negative feedback! Take the time out to leave a comment below with your thoughts.