InfoWOW 7 - Five Characteristics of a Superb Compliment

The five characteristics of a superb compliment!

Sometimes, compliments provoke positive emotions, sometimes so strong and powerful, that they allow people to feel a long-lasting feeling of gratitude and wellbeing! Several studies show that people who compliment a lot have more satisfied customers, more loyal employees, children more fulfilled and more friends!
In my keynote « The WOW Effect in Leadership », I often ask the following two questions to the audience:
  • «Who here ever had a boss who complimented too much? Too much recognition, too much appreciation, it was unpleasant?» Believe me, hands up are rare and my question often causes giggles!
  • «Who has ever had a manager (or even a spouse) who rarely complimented and expressed little recognition?» Usually, hands are raised high up in the air to answer affirmatively to this question! Hence, most people don’t compliment enough.
If you want to improve this skill, here are five characteristics of a great compliment:

1. Accurate

I believe that in general, when we are negative towards others, we are very precise (i.e., the situation is described with an enumeration of details). However, when we are positive, we are often very vague (e.g. thank you, good job, attaboy, etc.). If you want your compliments to have a strong impact, be specific! Here’s my personal tip for doubling the impact of a compliment: use «BECAUSE» when you compliment people! For example:
  • With a child, «you're nice» can be improved by «you're nice BECAUSE I saw you share your toys with your little sister this morning and I think you’re great!»
  • With an employee, «thank you for your day» can be enhanced by «thank you for your day BECAUSE I saw you come in earlier this morning, you completed a file that was important to me and I appreciate it!»
  • In love, «I love you» can be improved by «I love you very much BECAUSE ......   name the compliments you want, but please…. do not hesitate

2. Immediate

Usually, a compliment loses importance as time goes by. For example, if your child shows you a school report for which he has obtained an average of «A» and you congratulate him a month later, what will be his reaction? The compliment is almost worthless. Bad timing! Whenever possible, demonstrate your recognition quickly (whether in person, if not by phone, text or email).

3. Original

If you always compliment your colleagues, friends, spouse or employees on the same aspects, these compliments will have less impact. Try this today: compliment someone on something completely different from what they are used to hearing and notice their reaction. Expect a smile!

4. Focus on behaviors

Do you want to demotivate your loved ones? Focus ALL your compliments solely on the results! Do we have 100% control over our results? Unfortunately, not at all. However, we have 100% control over our behavior and our efforts. Imagine the child who studies two hours a night for three weeks, writes his exam and obtains a grade of 50%. What will happen if your feedback is, «Come on! 50%! It's horrible!» His motivation will certainly decrease. On the other hand, if your recognition mainly takes into account his behavior, such as: «I am so proud of you, I saw you studied so hard and I am sure that your results will improve», he will be much more motivated!

5. Sincere

Offer your compliments only if they are sincere! Nothing worse than a hypocritical flattery addressed in order to obtain a favor! No one appreciates receiving an undeserved honor. Some researchers have even shown that parents who offer exaggerated compliments to their children can have a more harmful than beneficial impact. It is important that our loved ones be complimented frequently, but above all honestly!
By sincerely emphasizing positive behavior in someone, you maximize your chances of seeing this behavior take root very deeply! People tend to repeat the behaviors for which they have been praised.

To conclude, I would like to compliment you and thank you for reading this entire text…. BECAUSE it clearly shows that you care to improve the relationships with those you care about!


An inspiring video that will make you smile!

Thank you dad!

Since the theme of this edition of INFOWOW is recognition, I chose a video that highlights the incredible contribution of dads to their children's lives. In a previous edition of InfoWOW, I also presented a video paying tribute to mothers.


A book to make people even happier ... for no reason

If I trust my many annotations and pencil marks of my manuscript, my favorite book this year is: «Happy for No Reason» by Marci Shimoff. Each chapter dissects one of the pillars of true happiness, such as love, health, relationships and spirituality.
By citing notably relevant research, psychology specialists and touching interviews with deeply happy people, the book "Happy for No Reason" offers several innovative approaches to becoming even happier, whatever your starting point.
Good reading!

Blog InfoWOW!

  • InfoWOW 1

    Managing Expectations
  • InfoWOW 2

    The Last Impression
  • InfoWOW 3

    Perception Management
  • InfoWOW 4

    Passion and Enthusiasm
  • InfoWOW 5

    Listening Benefits
  • InfoWOW 6

    To Love is to be Present
  • InfoWOW 7

    Five Characteristics of a Superb Compliment

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    Keynote Speaker
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    Client Experience Manager
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