In today’s communication there are several ways to establish contact and develop effective relationships. One way is to express a special form of respect, recognition or admiration by giving compliments, which is widely considered to the basic element of etiquette. Compliments differ from flattery and praise in that they rely on facts and tend not to make the other side feel higher or lower.
Compliments have a unique magic power which addresses the most important human need — the need for positive emotions. When we give a compliment, two thing happen: we deliver joy and we become associated with pleasure. Moreover, as the Roman poet Publius Syrus said: “We are interested in other people when they are interested in us”, hence the the compliment is an excellent tool to attract the attention of another person and to be included into their circle.
In our academy, we teach and train the detail and subtleties of the art of complimenting. There are several techniques of giving compliments, such as, classic stroking (Super!, It’s wonderful!, Top class!); compliments of double action (classic stroking plus the Self-message); comparison with an idol (You do it like…); question-exclamation (How do you do it!) and seeking advice. There are also various cliches that produce a hypnotic effect, such as “I know that you …”; “I felt… once I saw you …”; “I am experiencing this only with you for the first time …”.
If you wish your compliment to sound natural, base it on reality, try to observe your interlocutor, gather the information about him/her, learn the manner of his/her communication, habits and other distinctive features. When the reaction to a compliment may be unpredictable, you can incorporate tactics used by law enforcement, whereby we express a compliment on behalf of third party who our interlocutor respects: “… said that you …” or “… recommended you as a …”.
I am often asked when to make a compliment? My advice is at the beginning and at the end of a conversation. First, at the beginning, because you immediately set up the interlocutor for pleasant emotions, which in turn elevates the communication to a positive level. Second, this is an excellent exercise for your self-awareness since the search for a realistic and personalized compliment activates your attention, Third, a compliment at the end of communication is done to leave a pleasant aftertaste, akin to perfume — you’re gone, but the fragrance lingers on. (By the way, the sense of smell is a separate topic in our training).
Finally, cultivating a new habit requires repetition — compliment as often as you can!