The difference between kissing up and a giving good compliment.

 Life Lesson #30 Learn to give good compliments.

I know that people like different things. But a good compliment someone will remember for a while. Say, 50 years at least. Mark Twain said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

The Anatomy of a bad compliment.

  1. Lie. “Go get’em Johnny, you’re the best.” Doesn’t ring true when Johnny is #15 on the depth chart. He knows it, and so do you.
  2. Repeat what others are saying. Wow, nice Game Johnny. Nice speech, nice hair, nice jacket, nice… Yeah, by the 3rd time I’ve heard it, the compliment looses impact.
  3. Use vague words. Nice. Good. Impressive.
  4. Be insincere. Force yourself to find something good to say. Kind of like complimenting your sister after cutting her down. “Find something nice to say, Johnny!” “I like your hair.”

Anatomy of a memorable compliment.

  1. True for you. Even if the recipient wants to deny it, give them a personal compliment from your experience. A lady at a certain church once came to me after a speech and said “if we didn’t have our pastor, we would want to have you.” I know her pastor. In my mind, he’s a great man. That’s a solid compliment, and it was true for her.
  2. Specific. Johnny might not be the best, but he might be the only one who could hit a curve call. Or have the nicest handwriting. You’d be amazed the things people remember. Notice the small and specific
  3. Public. Now, I know not everyone likes to be the center of attention. But everyone likes to be bragged on publicly. Not every compliment should or can be given publicly, but if the people important to me hear that compliment, the noise factor increases significantly.

There are many others I’m sure. But in 40 years, I only remember a few compliments. So try to make them memorable, will ya? Over on Facebook, or in the comments, would you share the best compliment you’ve ever received? Or other ways to compliment people? If you liked this post, you might want read


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