Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Best Compliments in the World

Compliments. Praise. Recognition. Affirmation. Gratitude. Appreciation. Positive feedback. Positive strokes. Pats on the back.

Good stuff!

Unfortunately, most of the feedback we get is negative. You know - CRITICISM. People bothered by something we've done and they want us to stop.

What we need is more of the good stuff. Actually three or four times as much praise as criticism would be nice. It's amazing how motivating a compliment can be!

If it's done right, that is.

Here's the secret...

Instead of giving a general comment, mention the specific action that pleased you. AND - how you really feel about it.

Situation: My computer programmer changed the way a function works in a new program.

General feedback: "Good job!"

Specific feedback: "I really like how this new function works!"

Even more specific: "The way the program leads me through the three steps makes the process seem effortless. I love it!"

General praise is OK. I could have said, "You da man." Actually, I've been known to say this when I'm pleased. No harm done. At least he knew I was happy with what he did.

But by being specific, my programmer knows exactly how I feel - and exactly what pleased me.

So he knows what to keep on doing right.


Another example...

Situation: My wife took out the trash, even though it's my week to do it.

General feedback: "You're so sweet!"

Specific feedback: "Honey, I really appreciate that you took the trash out for me. I've been so busy on this project I hadn't gotten to it yet. One more thing I don't have to think about!"

I'm sure my wife likes it when I say, "You're so sweet." But to tell her how I really feel - and why - hits home even stronger.

We need to give more compliments. More praise. Catch people doing things right!

And with a little effort, you can go from good feedback to great feedback. You can give the best compliments in the world.

Bonus post - What happens when gratitude fails...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2013. Building Personal Strength .

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