How to give the perfect compliment

There is an art to giving compliments that will make someone’s day. And there are lots of good reasons why you should.

Compliments are magical. They can come from anyone at any time and have the power to make the giver feel that special warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

So, it will come as no surprise to learn that positive feedback is not only beneficial in social settings.

Research has shown recognition makes us happier at work, and helps us solidify new skills.

Praise is also a great way to boost productivity, with studies showing a good compliment lights up the part of our brain associated with rewards and can feel just like you’re being given cash.

But before you go ahead dishing out praise, it’s important to remember there is fine line between admiration and awkward flattery.

When to use compliments

According to The Confidence Coach author Lisa Phillips it’s good to get into the habit of giving compliments regularly.

“It is nice to give a family and friends compliments,” she says.

“Tell them how much they mean to you or that you really appreciate them being in your life.

“Also, don’t hold back from giving strangers a compliment either – it will not only make them feel good, but you will feel good as well.”

Recognition in the workplace is also essential, as well-placed praise can help gain influence and make people more likely to comply with your requests.

3 simple rules for giving good compliments

We all know that awkward feeling when someone gives a compliment and it falls flat.

Lisa says often this is because we don’t obey some simple rules.

Rule 1: Compliments must be heartfelt

“Say it from the heart or not at all,” she says.

“People can feel it if you are just saying it for the sake of it and don’t just focus on someone’s appearance or clothes – compliment their attitude, helpfulness or passion.”

Also be aware generic feedback has less impact, so be sure to tailor your comments to the person.

Rule 2: Consider how you deliver

There are also situational factors to consider when complimenting someone.

“Watch your body language,” Lisa says.

“Even if you are being intimate with a compliment, it doesn’t mean you have to stand too close to the person if it may make them uncomfortable – particularly at work.”

Rule 3: Don’t expect anything in return

“A compliment should be given freely without expectations,” she says.

How to receive a compliment

Getting recognition is nice, but often a lot of us are not good at accepting it – with low self-esteem, cultural differences or simply not wanting to appear vain can be among the factors.

But not knowing how to take a compliment can be as awkward for the giver as it is for the receiver.

“Most of us don’t really accept compliments and some people find them uncomfortable, but don’t just shrug it off or think they don’t really mean it. In doing this we actually reject the compliment,” says Lisa.

“Instead, always thank the person who made the compliment and notice how nice it feels in your body.

“Accepting compliments shows that you value yourself so receive them, don’t reject them.”

How about trying it out for yourself? March 1 is World Compliment Day.

Written by Alex White.