How to Give Compliments

A couple of days ago we gave some tips on how to receive compliments, but giving compliments is an equally important life skills to develop.

Do you avoid giving compliments because you feel awkward, embarrassed or simply can’t think of anything to say to compliment or flatter a friend?

Do you feel your compliments always seem to lack sincerity or that they may sound corny?

If the answer is yes to the above, it’s time to chivvy up your Inner Imp Courage and get to work.

Giving sincere compliments and encouragement is a way to pep up your communications skills.

In the same way as your Inner Imp Self-Esteem sits up and has a bit of a preen when you’re sprinkled with a compliment, you will go far in life if you can give as good as you get and make other people feel good about themselves by spreading a little magic fairy-dust too.

Giving compliments isn’t about a set of mechanical 1-2-3 steps, but here are a few CANDo tips that will certainly help you deliver them with confidence and practiced ease.

Tip 1 – Identify your Goal

First off, what’s the aim of your compliment. Are you trying to boost a friend’s confidence, flatter a boss to get promotion or achieve something for yourself? If you can be clear about what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be more confident and adept at delivering it in the right way.

Tip 2 – Keep it Real

One thing that makes compliments fall flat is if they lack sincerity. If your friend’s dress doesn’t suit her, don’t say “It looks great.” You don’t have to be totally honest and say it makes you look fat, simply get Diplomacy to whisper in the ear of that shy Inner Imp Honesty and say something along the lines of “I’m not sure, but I do know you looked really great in ….” fill in the blank as you think fit. We spend far too much time pandering to egos and telling people what we think they want to hear. Get Courage to work with Honesty and say what you really think – just be sure that Diplomacy keeps Honesty on a tight leash.

Tip 3 – Watch your Body Language

Be aware of your body language. Smile and make eye contact. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re making a sincere compliment from the heart.

Tip 4 – Compliments Know No Bounds

Don’t restrict yourself to the physical. Compliments aren’t just about looks. You can use compliments to draw attention to good behaviour, a job well done, work ethic, organisational skills… the list of possibilities is HUGE.

Tip 5 – Forearm Yourself

We’re not suggesting that you always prepare compliments, but take a moment and have a think about the people in your life. What are they good at? What behaviour would you like to see them display more often? What’s really nice about them? Jot down a few things and say them to yourself in your head. You will naturally find that appropriate situations will present themselves where you feel like boosting someone’s Self-Esteem imp and these pre-prepared ideas will be just the ticket. Throw one of the compliments in their direction. You’ll be amazed how easy spreading CANDo magic fairy-dust can be once you get started.

Tip 6 – Use Compliments to “Guide” People

Compliments can be great tools. Use them to help others as “guides” to steer people towards the right choices, more appropriate activities, better behaviour, etc. Good examples might be:

“You look really great in xxxx.”

“It’s amazing how you kept your cool in that meeting/situation.”

“You’re good at following instructions.” or, perhaps for a child,

“You made xxxx really happy by sharing your toys with him.”

Tip 7 – Practice Makes Perfect

This is SO true. Use Tip 5 and sprinkle a few compliments around trusted true friends and loved ones. They won’t complain if you get it wrong and the more you do it, the more natural you’ll become.

Tip 8 – Don’t Overdo It

You can have too much of a good thing. Go easy. Keeping compliments for when you really, really mean it is a good way to moderate how many you’re giving out.

Giving sincere compliments is a great way to make people feel good about themselves and spread positive feelings. If people feel positive after an encounter with you, they’ll automatically feel more positive about you. Hone this life skill and it will add a little va-va-voom to your successes in life. Just remember, if you get it wrong, a) it’s the thought that counts so move on and don’t fret it and, b) maybe they are the one that needs a little CANDo help with accepting compliments.

If you feel like spreading a little magic fairy dust and you like what you’re reading at CANDo Life Skills, why not Twitter about us or like us on Facebook – you’d be making us the best compliment possible!


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