I have always found that a sincere and specific compliment is very powerful. It motivates and lightens those around you (particularly important when people begin to be disgruntled and short at work). Plus, it helps to build relationships, and in so doing, creates a team of supporters around you to help out when needed. It makes places like work more exciting and collaborative and brings a deeper understanding to close relationships. In short, find time to notice the good things about people.
This is an important skill to master at home and in the workplace, actually with anyone in any situation you encounter. It helps, motivates and brings support to both you and others.
Giving compliments is based on the belief that people everywhere should be respected and treated equally. From the person serving you food at a restaurant to your fellow employee in the next cubicle, from your wife to the person handling your dry cleaning, when you take the perspective that everyone has value and brings meaning to their work and life, then your own life becomes easier. You create an environment of cooperation, respect, and dignity. Quelling choppy waters will make it easier to sail . . . and make SALES.
We have all heard about the challenge to go about your day and smile at everyone. You are to do this while walking through the grocery store, going about your work day, and eating with your family at night. The idea is to not discriminate with your smiles – everyone gets equal opportunity to your smile be that person a stranger, friend, or foe. The end result is that most people smile back, their mood lightens, and they are more likely to pass it on to others. This exercise is a basic demonstration of mirroring. We tend to copy the actions and emotions of others. Now, the great thing about a compliment is that it goes a step further. A sincere and specific compliment impacts someone on a deeper level with more lasting positive results.
When at Cirque du Soleil, I would try to find people “off the beaten path” to compliment. Technical people that I rarely work with on a daily basis, doormen at the casino (using this term since they so happen to all be men at this location), and the person at my local Starbucks all receive compliments from me. Again, compliments create the foundation of a team that I may need at some time, and provides an atmosphere that makes it easier for me to accomplish my goals with support and a great cup of coffee. Too many times in a day we walk by the same people and never really say hello or open a door. In most cases these days it is because a lot of folks, my self included, are on our phones. And think about this, who are we talking to on our phones? It might be a close friend or a loved one, but in this world of social media it most likely is someone who follows us on Facebook or Twitter that is around the other side of the world and whom we have never even met. So the question is why not build your “social network” in your own town? We do seem more “connected” to our gadgets, but more disconnected to those immediately around us. Giving a compliment can start to make a difference and makes a true connection easier.
In order to give a specific compliment and not just a “great job, Joe” or “Thanks, Jane,” you need to assess people, observe them to find their strengths. The strengths of an individual are good to know regardless since you never know when that person’s assets are needed to bolster your weaknesses.
You will begin to really see a person’s dedication to work, caring when tending to another, and creativity when handling a problem. This type of observation will begin to free you from making assumptions, and you will naturally see things in a more positive light as you walk in another person’s shoes. I am not talking about going “Pollyanna” here, but a life with less struggle and obstacles (many of which are self-created illusions) will be easier to navigate and ultimately attract more success and less stress.
Once you observe a person and witness strengths, then deliver your compliment with sincerity. Take the time to do it properly, make eye contact, and use the person’s name, if possible. The power and lasting repercussions on your success will be worth it.
The other night I said to one of the technicians assigned to my act, “Jake, brother, you are darn good at what you do. I want to let you know I ALWAYS feel safe when you are on the job. This is the reason I can do what I do and be the best, cause you make me look good!”. Now, most of the time people act surprised upon being complimented because I believe a sincere compliment is rare in our society, and Jake was no exception. But the end result is that Jake does a better job and my job is made even easier since he keeps up a great attitude and enables me to do my work well. It is always a win-win.
If you want to practice this and get good at it, then try this on your significant other. A great time when you have a loved one’s captive attention is at a meal or when preparing a meal. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at what you learn about your mate and how it changes your relationship. Plus, that’s the reason you call them your SIGNIFICANT other, because they are SIGNIFICANT to you, now show them.