Studies show that giving sincere compliments at work can have a big impact. A few genuine words can help increase engagement, boost morale and just make people feel good.

Everyone wants to be seen and appreciated, but they may not receive compliments in the intended way. For example, they may think the other person has ulterior motives or doesn’t mean what they say. If the person doles out a hearty “great job” to everyone for everything, it doesn’t have much meaning.

If you’re going to give a compliment, make it sincere. Steve Keating, an authority on sales and leadership, says a sincere compliment has two parts: the compliment itself and an explanation why. The reasoning requires some effort, but it’s worth it, he says.

Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily for Keating’s guidance on giving meaningful compliments.

  1. Be real. Don’t say something nice just because – always mean what you say. Your sincerity should come from a place of authenticity, Keating says.
  2. Choose the right time. Giving praise for an achievement months ago won’t mean as much as giving one in the moment. Timing matters, Keating says.
  3. Watch your words. To give a genuine compliment, don’t add any comparisons or qualifiers. For example, don’t say, “You’re not as bad as others at this …”
  4. Pay attention to your body language. Make your tone of voice align with your words, Keating says, and remember to smile. A genuine smile can enhance the sincerity of your compliment.
  5. Don’t give backhanded compliments. An example would be, “Amazingly, you’re pretty good at this.” These kinds of compliments contain an insult or criticism and can be easily misconstrued, Keating says.
  6. Personalize the compliment. Try to show you appreciate the other person’s individuality. Keating recommends saying something like, “I noticed your attention to detail. It really sets you apart.” This means more than saying a generic, “Good job.”
  7. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities. Understand the cultural context and be mindful of cultural differences when giving compliments, Keating says. What might be considered appropriate in one culture may not be in another.

When you’re genuinely impressed with someone, tell them. Almost everyone craves feedback, so don’t hold back. Remember to be specific in your compliment and make it honest and authentic. A few heartfelt words can go a long way.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Steve Keating has over 30 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He’s recognized as a thought leader and authority on leadership.