How to Give Great Compliments

 By: Mike Robbins
A genuine and powerful compliment is one of the best gifts we can give another human being. Think of some of the compliments you have received in your life... they stick out in your mind and resonate deep within your heart, don't they?

The best part about compliments is that they are free and easy - we can give them all the time and they don't take much on our part.

As easy as they are to give, many of us have a hard time effectively giving compliments to others. Whether it is because we are too busy, we forget to do it, we feel awkward and uncomfortable, or we just can't find the right time or the right words, many of us struggle with the simple and powerful act of acknowledging others.

Here are some important components to remember when giving a compliment:

1) Be genuine. Any form of acknowledgment that you give has to be real, honest, and genuine if it is going to have any power or impact on the other person. There are too many insincere compliments thrown around on a daily basis. A powerful compliment must come from your heart and be real. A great way to make sure your compliment is honest is to do it in person and look the other person in the eye when you acknowledge them. It is very difficult to "blow smoke" when you connect with someone eye to eye and heart to heart.

2) Be specific. The more specific you are with your acknowledgement the better. Instead of telling someone that they are "great", tell them what you think is great about them, what they did to inspire you, and/or specifically what you appreciate about them. By making your compliment specific it will not only have more power it will also inspire them to repeat the behavior and/or continue to develop the quality that you acknowledged.

3) Let them know how they impact you in a positive way. So often we express our compliments or acknowledgements as "judgments". We say things like, "You're smart, you're funny, or I like you." While there is nothing wrong with these statements, if you think about them they are really just judgments - positive judgments yes, but judgments nonetheless. If you tell someone they are smart, you could just as easily say they are stupid. However, if you let someone know how they have positively impacted you it is much more powerful. For example, you could tell them that listening to them talk inspires lots of great ides within you or that being around them makes you happy. Be specific and clear about what they did or what quality they have, AND, most importantly, the positive impact on you and your life.

4) Give without attachment. For a compliment to be effective, it must be given without attachment or expectation. If we give a compliment to get something in return from the other person, it is a manipulation not an acknowledgment. Acknowledge people simply because you want to, because you mean it, and because you want to let them know who they are and how they have positively impacted your life. If you notice that you want something in return or have an ulterior motive, you are not giving an authentic compliment.

5) Make sure they accept it. For a compliment to have real power, it is essential that it is fully accepted by the other person. At some deep level, you cannot control how other people take things and whether or not they truly let it in. However, you can tell if someone really takes your compliment or not. Often people will downplay it, blow it off, or even jokingly disagree with you and your compliment. Don't let them do this - they rip you off and they rip themselves off in the process. People mostly do this because they are uncomfortable and are not sure how to truly let it in. If this happens, just look them in the eye, let them know that you really meant what you said, and remind them to just take it in and say "thank you". You may feel a little pushy or awkward doing this, but if you are willing to say this with kindness, it will ultimately be a great gift for both you and the other person. More importantly, it will allow them to actually receive your gift/compliment.

Practice

See how many genuine compliments you can give this week. Make a list of the important people in your life that you want to acknowledge and start complimenting them. When you do, see if you can practice being genuine, being specific, letting them know their impact on you, giving without attachment, and making sure they accept your acknowledgment. As you do this, pay attention to what works and what doesn't work.

There is no "right" way to do it, it is all about you practicing and becoming more comfortable and effective with your compliments. Have fun and expect miracles!
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