A most potent verbal tool

… Perhaps the most potent verbal tool is …

A compliment

Oh, the power thats available if you understand & use the ART of the compliment

Yes, art. There is an art in both giving & receiving a compliment, & sadly, most people simply don’t know how to do either

Lets look first at giving …

When we give someone a compliment we call it ‘paying’ – because, just like ‘spending’ time, someone way back when realised compliments, like time, are a currency

When I talk about compliments being a ‘tool’ & having ‘power’ I don’t mean to sound cold or manipulative, but – the fact remains that humans usually DO use them as currency

It COSTS the person giving the compliment something – exposure of feelings = vunerability

Compliments are potent medicine & by-pass many modern filters, especially if they are meant – if the compliment is sincere. You can always find something to compliment about another person – if you want to, and if they are socially calibrated, the receiver appreciates the cost you just paid

So the art of paying a compliment is about bravery, timing & sincereity

I have a confession. When I meet someone new, in either a social or business setting, I pay them a compliment for two reasons …

First, we both get a fuzzy feeling, but more importantly, few things build rapport quicker than a sincere compliment …

My second reason is … its a VERY usefull shortcut

I can tell a LOT about a persons self worth & social callibration in seconds just by the way they RECEIVE a compliment

Time to CHECK YOURSELF. When someone pays you a compliment, are you ‘uncomfortable’?

Men often are

Do you immediately invalidate, deflect & deflate the compliment …

He: “Oh, that IS a beautiful skirt”
Her: “What, this old thing? I think the hem is coming down”


When someone has decided to PAY you a compliment, at COST to themselves, why oh why would you catch it & throw it on the floor or dodge it altogether?

THINK. WHY was the giver paying you the compliment?

What are they REALLY saying?

In the above scenario, the guy is saying – “I want you to know I think you look great & it’s important to me you understand I’m brave enough & sincere enough to actually say something”

Did her response validate his effort? Recognise the real message & meaning? Acknowlege his emotional ‘cost’?

What should she have said?

“Why, Thank You”

This is essential part one – acknowledgement. Letting him know compliments are appropriate, well received & safe

Leads to optional part two:

“You’re looking hot yerself” = reciprocation

Look how much communication those two had in just a few words!

Imagine you were a real fan of say, Michael Bublé. You get to meet him & blurt out – “Michael – I know you must hear this all the time, but I’m a real big fan of your work – I just loved your last album”

Can you imagine Michael Bublé saying “Oh, well, you should have heard the stuff that didnt make the cut. Soooo many songs I just couldn’t get right, most of my new songs are just rubbish …”

Noooo, he would just say “Thank you very much – I sure appreciate that. What’s your favourite track?”

He knows his work is well received. His self-worth is validated daily

He also understands that the fan was taking a HUGE risk with that ‘I know you hear this all the time’ line so he validates the compliment & repays the compliment with momentary engagement

THAT, is social callibration & thats how to receive a compliment

When someone pays you a compliment (even if they cock it up but you can ‘hear’ the real message) don’t dodge it or stomp on it or let it fall to the floor – display your self worth by saying “Oh, Thank You”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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