At the very core good etiquette is the ability to make someone else feel good. There is very little in the world so effective at making someone else feel good as a well-delivered compliment. But what does that sound like? What makes a great compliment great?
The magic is in you. There is no magic word or words that will work in every situation. The magic comes from your sincerity and your genuine good will. Here are some things that will help make that happen.
- Stay in the moment. Be present with the person you are complimenting. Look them in the eye. Smile. Let your eyes smile too.
- Be spontaneous. Don’t always say the same thing. Notice good work, changes someone has made, or admirable attributes. If you are bringing up something you have planned to mention allow for some spontaneity in how you talk about it.
- Use the right dosage. Like all good medicine, too much of a good thing can make anyone sick. Keep the compliment proportional to the specific thing you are mentioning or the situation.
- You might try a compliment that acknowledges something difficult someone has achieved or overcame. A struggle can bring out the best in anyone and acknowledgement of that can be particularly satisfying.
- Don’t always comment on someone’s appearance. While it might be nice to have someone notice a ‘good hair day’ no one wants to feel like they are being evaluated or judged on their looks alone.
- Be generous with compliments. Offer them to friends, family, and colleagues. Try a few on yourself while you are at it. Compliments make everyone feel good and they are free.