I once worked with someone who was known as a serial complimentor. And while she meant well, her compliments quickly became a joke, lost their meaning and created doubt on what her intentions were. “I love your necklace,” she’d say; and the next day say, “I love your earrings.” And so on and so on. Scat!
Don’t become a serial complimentor.
Everyone loves a good compliment. But it should be meaningful. Again: meaningful.
Complimenting someone beyond the superficial “cute shoes” comment tells the person you notice how they contribute in their own way – way more significant than “cute shoes” does. It shows that you recognize something only they can offer…not something that everyone can buy.
Here are some different ways to compliment:
Does their work inspire others? Is it always precise? Think about the impact their work has on others and let them know how grateful you are for that. Even saying things like “you are such a great colleague” or “this is amazing” can go a long way. But don’t get stuck there…take it a step further and add the “because.”
For example, “You are such a great colleague because your work is always on time.” Or “This turned out amazing because you were so creative in putting this together.”
Not to be confused with personality, a person’s character is more than just how funny, energetic, optimistic a person is. It may be something that can take a while to identify, but it’s who someone is at the core. So compliment them for that. Being honest, treating others well or being compassionate, for example, are great character traits…and my optimistic personality says that there are good character traits in everyone even though they may be hidden behind a quiet personality. Start off with things like “I admire how compassionate you are” or “I love how honest you are.” Then, add why it’s great to recognize this part of them.
For example, “Your compassion for others is admirable, it lets others really open up to you.” Or “Your honesty is refreshing, it’s great to have some clarity on what you think/feel.”
Their communication skills
Whether the person is energetic or calm, gives the big picture or focuses on the details, each of these communication qualities are important in their own way. This can tie in to their personality. Not only are you saying you enjoyed listening to them, they will also gain valuable insight on how to better communicate with you. Win-win!
Remember to add the because/the why…for example, “Your energy when you were talking to us was contagious. I’m so excited about the news you’ve just shared.” Or “Your ability to remain calm when delivering this information is reassuring.”
Yeah – maybe you won’t share a compliment verbatim to the examples, but it’s a good start. And the more you compliment people, the better you’ll be. So start practicing!
But don’t get me wrong, if you really like those shoes, let her (or him) know. After all, everyone loves a good compliment.
Happy complimenting, y’all!