You are heading to the canteen for lunch on a casual day at your office. Suddenly your supervisor walks by and calls you by name, says, ‘that presentation you are preparing sure is taking loads of sleepless nights that much I can tell just by seeing the excellent formation. The last time we received such great work was from Mr. Faraze, our ex-associate. Keep the good work up and it will bear fruits on the investors’ meeting.’
What’d be your prompt reaction to this compliment? You may play the ‘compliment ping-pong’ by passing over the credit to the supervisor. Or you may downplay it with an awkward smile. Whatever you do, later you will always regret receiving a compliment in the possible stupidest manner. Wait, you are no different. Christopher Littlefield conducted a study in Boston with more than 400 people and 70% of them were shattered with discomfort while being acknowledged.

Be it low self-esteem or lack of confidence behind our stiff response, a genuine compliment always feels as a mental pat on the back. Some wise words of praise for our effort are no less than an unexpected windfall. It triggers the release of dopamine that eventually contributes to a better outcome for the next challenge. This chemical discharge also leads a person to a psychological desire to recreate that sense of happiness for others. Compliments have equal, sometimes even more benefits from the sender’s end. Sounds technical? It slightly is.

There is more on the other shore

Compliments sure do make one’s day. But giving them away can also boost your day, network, and career. When you pass positive feedback to someone, it empowers three individuals. The one you are talking to, that person you are mentioning meanwhile, and you. If you wonder how, just get a load of what the supervisor said earlier. Those words felt like a monetary reward. The mention of a previous employee shows good work will always be remembered & now you have your heart set with more integrity. As if you owe him. That’s what the magic compliments do.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” – Mark Twain

The professional world is a bee swarm of networking and knowing the sweet spot to hit is all it takes to stand prudent. When you praise, you invest in a person with a guarantee of having the same gesture being returned to you. This law of reciprocity always drives people to respond to what has been shared by lending a hand of help or good wishes.

Say nay to bland compliments

‘Good work’
‘I loved the report’
‘Nice job’
Ain’t these the most frequent faint praises we receive?
No doubt, verbal rewards are the easiest way to reach someone’s heart but lack of gravity can turn your praise into a vague comment. People can distinguish between random sweet talk and genuine commendation. Use this powerful tool to nurture and enhance your relationships by not flattering yourself too much. The dose of positivity needs to be blended with sincerity as well. And it doesn’t take much.

  • Take the person’s name while praising. It tugs people to gain their attention.
  • Offering compliments using buts and ifs makes us look skeptical and judgemental. Let’s avoid that from now on.
  • The smartest way to acknowledge people is to keep your appearance out of the phase. Get rid of that ‘I’ (i.e. I really loved that watch) and say, ‘That watch suits you the best’ instead.
  • Being specific with your words works more effectively than those hyperbolic statements. The next time you feel tempted to settle for a ‘nice job’, take a pause and rephrase it with what specialty their work has and how meaningful it was to you.
  • Compliments are a proven form of reinforcement. It increases productivity more than cash bonuses do. That must not lead you to always praise with the words only. You can pick a Kitkat or have a small goodwill note stuck to their desk. Such a token of best wishes never fails.
  • We have an absurd practice of appreciation that maintains hierarchy. But, you don’t necessarily require to be in a leading position to acknowledge others. We can praise our coworkers, juniors, or even the canteen boy. Don’t commercialize compliments by filtering them with your own benefits. 

Dole out Compliments

Feeling valued and appreciated are basic human needs irrespective of what relation or benefit you share. Be ready to give away compliments, as our human nature is by default ready to criticize and find fault randomly. Practice passing acknowledgments in your home, with your children, to the helping hands. Even at random places like coffee shops or retail stores where the sales assistant or the managers are the least to expect being complimented. A simple act of generosity can overlay the dark cloud that may have been chasing someone silently and set a rainbow instead for a person.

As aforementioned, don’t make hollow compliments for the sake of it. Take a few seconds out of your day. Let people around you know their existence, work, contribution, or even a simple bracelet someone is wearing, matters!

Amongst the world of complex judgments, be the Santa of positivity. 

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