When was the last time you received a compliment?
More importantly, when was the last time you complimented someone else?
High fiving a colleague, subordinate, friend, or family member and then saying “good job” does not really do much.
Yes, you acknowledged that they did something great but there is a much better way to do it.
The first thing to think about is “are you the type who always compliments everyone in the same way?”
That high five and comment may feel good to the recipient the first, or possibly the second time, but then it just may come across as not really holding any meaning because you have not really put in any effort.
The next thing to consider is what you really like about what they did.
If it is a presentation, what really stood out to you?
Maybe it was the whole presentation but more likely it was a few key sentences that resonated with you and/or you were interested in certain parts of the topic.
The more specific you are when addressing the presenter, the more helpful you are.
Not only are you acknowledging good work but you are also providing feedback which they can use in the future.
“I really learned a lot when you talked about x. I never thought about it that way before.”
The last thing to give some thought to is your delivery.
Obviously the words you use will be important but so will your non-verbal messaging.
If it you come across as shallow, the person may feel that you are not being sincere; or if you use positive words but you are shaking your head in the negative, the person may be confused.
In addition, do not rush your acknowledgement.
No one feels good when a person is almost running down the hall while yelling “you did great!”.
Instead make sure you take the time to not only compliment the person but also let them have the opportunity to respond.
They may want to ask questions or seek other feedback.
By the way, a truly heartfelt acknowledgement should not be viewed as brown nosing.
Even complimenting your boss is a good thing as long as you are transparent and genuine.
In this busy world we all live in, taking the time to acknowledge someone else will go a long way.
Remember that it is the little things in life that bring us happiness!