Friday, September 28, 2007

The Art of the Compliment: Learn It, Apply It

When it comes to your career, don't underestimate the power of genuine and specific compliments. I try to make it a practice to offer them up often...and I'm not talking about the fake, dripping-with-shallowness kind.

What you need to do is be observant. Intentionality is key. As you go through your day, think about the people you talk to, listen intently to conversations, watch the way people work. Did your supervisor say something particularly inspiring or powerful at the last department meeting? Did one of your co-workers do an outstanding job on a recent project? Did your administrative assistant decorate for the last office party with pizazz? Tell them!

Other ways to master the art of the compliment:

1. Pass it on. This is, by far, the easiest way to start the art of complimenting. Simply, listen for when other people say nice things about (not: to) someone and then pass it on. Example:

Conversation around the water cooler...
Co-worker: I was so impressed by Anne's presentation this morning. She's just so articulate and has such composure.
You: I agree

Later that day when you stop by Anne's office...
You: So-and-so was just saying how articulate and composed you were this morning.
Anne: Thank you. I was so nervous about that presentation.
You: I just wanted to pass along the compliment.

2. Take Keith Ferazzi's advice. Give a "drive-by" compliment. Send your compliment to the person's boss for optimal effect.

3. Be critical (in the good sense of the word) and intelligent on the job. If you're known as an honest and analytical person, your compliments will mean even more because people will know they're not just fluffy sentimentalism.

(Photo by: Aaron Gustafson)


Ashley P. said...

You are right! Nothing is better than to give out meaningful compliments and also to receive them. Isn't it easy tell when a compliment is from the heart and when one is as shallow as a mud puddle after it rains?

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