How to Give Compliments and Have Conversations, That Stick!

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By Richard Wharton Day
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Expert Author Richard Wharton Day

Research has revealed that a general compliment such as “good job” just doesn’t cut it anymore. I mean, sure, it is better than not saying anything, yet the interaction can be some much more powerful if you follow these three simple steps.

To maximize the impact of your compliment follow these steps:

Step 1: Make the feedback specific… e.g.”Thanks for the wonderful job you did on the last report you submitted”.

Step 2: Make the next sentence even more specific and clear… e.g.”Specifically, I was very impressed with how you coordinated the sections of the report… it made so much sense to link the information together like that.”.

Step 3: The final part is to tell the person how their behaviour and actions benefited you… “Finally, when you demonstrate that skill you enable me to focus on other areas of the process because I trust your judgement”

It is amazing the impact that this communication has on both parties… both building confidence and self esteem which is a great combined outcome from any communication.

My biggest wish is to have people actively employ this strategy on a regular basis so that it becomes more common place. When speaking to clients and customers it is phenomenal how little positive feedback is given to people and I often wonder whether we realize that one of the foundations of building confidence in people is to make them increasingly aware of what they do well and to celebrate that with them when appropriate.

So remember… to ensure that your feedback sticks ensure you include these three steps going forward.

Another important component to ensuring communication sticks is also gaining the attention of your audience and then holding their interest so that your constructive feedback can have the desired result.

So what are the essential steps to maintain audience interest and motivation to act?

I have listed some of the most crucial ones below:

Think carefully about what you want to say and how you want to say it before you speak.

• What is the composition of the audience that you are speaking to?

• Carefully choose your words to suit the message and audience.

• Remove all “fillers” (err, um, ah, etc) or words and phrases that repeat frequently such as OK, right, do you know what I mean?

• Vary your tone and inflection and add emphasis to the correct words and phrases to improve the power of the communication.

• Vary the pace of your speech so that the audience becomes aware of a shift of your emphasis. Pausing can be used to great effect and should be something that every communicator builds in to their repertoire.

• Body language brings speech to life in fact almost 55% of all messages are interpreted through body language. The trick is to realize what body language gestures compliment your messages.

• Do you believe in what you are saying? This simple but crucial communication skill is the essence of building passion and confidence into your message. Martin Luther King’s oratory “I Have a Dream” is a spectacular example of this!

So… get started and begin to change your world and theirs!



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