How To Give Effective Praise

Who doesn’t like being praised for a job well done?

No one that I can think of. It gives you that boost of confidence. Puts a little pep in your step. Brings a smile to your face.

If it’s done properly.

Medal of Honor Recipient Giving Speech

Image From Creative Commons

What? Praise can be given ineffectively? Yes, yes it can. When it’s fake praise.

I’m sure you’ve encountered it. I have.

A manager tells you “Good job” but you know they don’t mean it. A friend gives an offbeat “Atta boy. Keep at it” when they don’t even know what you do.

This kind of praise can sting a bit. It feels hollow. It comes across as manipulative.

If you’re sincere, praise is effective.  If you’re insincere, it’s manipulative.
— Zig Ziglar

I know you don’t want to give that kind of manipulative praise. You want to give effective praise. Praise that warms the heart of others.

How can you do this?

To be honest, this is an area that I struggle with. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you.

But here are some tips and tricks I’ve been trying to implement on giving effective praise.

  • As the Zig Ziglar quote says Be Sincere: People can detect when you’re not being sincere. When you’re giving praise, make sure it’s coming from the heart. It’s honest. It’s what you actually feel.

  • Praise the person to other people: Share your praise of the person with their coworkers or friends. Build them up and let them know how awesome the person is. People talk and it will get back to the person you were praising. What’s sweeter than hearing your boss, friend, or spouse was talking you up to others? I don’t think there is.

  • Give praise in public: Similar to the previous tip, praise the person in public. Once again you’re validating the person in front of others. People appreciate this.

  • Give praise in private: Public praise is great. But private praise can be even more effective. We often overlook this aspect. Telling someone the awesome job they’re doing one on one brings an intimacy to the praise.

  • Praise often: This is the hardest for me. And yet it is important. People need to be praised frequently or else they’ll look for other ways to get the attention they desire. Look for little things to praise. Are the dishes done? Did they turn in a paper on time? Was a big sale landed? Praise it, praise it, praise it.

Most of all, refer back to point 1. Be sincere in the praise. Otherwise the other tips will be ineffective.

It is simpler and easier to flatter people than to praise them.
— Jean Paul

Question: How do you give effective praise? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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