Have you ever noticed how easy it is for some people to carelessly tear others down without even giving it a second thought? The criticisms and judgments just roll off their tongues and they seem unaware of the hurt and devastation their cutting words bring to others. We all can sometimes fall into this habit, but is that who we really want to be? I know I don’t want to tear others down–I want to be build them up! I want to be an encourager!
Even if you’ve never been given much encouragement yourself, you can learn to give honest and sincere appreciation to others. (Yes, paying a sincere compliment to encourage someone is a learned skill.) Take every opportunity to be an encourager and you will get better and better at it. For years I have refined this skill by practicing on most everyone I come into contact with. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not doing this to get anything in return and I am certainly not just blowing smoke. After all, giving encouragement by way of complimenting must be sincere or it is simply flattery.
Here are the steps I go through when giving someone honest and sincere appreciation:
Examine: First you want to be watching for what a person is doing right and well in their responsibilities, in their activities, in their lives. Look deep into their character to find the wonderful things that captures your attention–could be something they did or said or an attitude. When you have found something, you are ready for the next step.
Expose: Bring the positive thing you’ve discovered out into the open. Speak directly to them about what you have observed in a manner that causes them to smile and feel good about themselves. But don’t stop there!
Emotion: Share this information with personal emotion. Tell them how what they have done makes you feel. Does it make you happy? Share it. Create joy? Share it, pause and move on to the last two steps.
Expectation: Tell this person what the benefits will be if they keep on repeating this attitude and/or behavior. Build expectation in them by painting a word picture that helps them to see themselves winning over and over again.
Endear: Maintain eye contact the entire time you are paying your compliment. Be looking for an appropriate time for a touch–a pat on their back, a shake of their hand, a touch on the shoulder–to help you convey your sincerity to the person you are encouraging in a way that will make them feel valued as a person.
You know, it’s really not so hard to build others up; and it’s not hard to decide who might need some encouragement. Look around you and you will discover that most people are literally craving positive feedback and acceptance from others. I have found that giving honest and sincere appreciation is one way I can easily encourage and build people up.
I believe that taking the time and energy to give honest and sincere appreciation is absolutely vital if we are to have positive relationships with others. It is the power of words to heal, to empower, to cause people to think differently. There is no greater power that I know of on this earth.
People are starving for some form of appreciation. Give them what they need!