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Compliments: A Powerful Gift in the Workplace

The power of a compliment 

You’ll be amazed at the positive psychological impact a compliment can make in the workplace.

Just like a thoughtful promotional gift, a compliment motivates people to keep up the same great behaviors that bring praise and recognition from others. Your employees and coworkers will stay encouraged to perform at a high level when they’re recognized for their success. Studies show that participants who received a compliment after completing an exercise perform better even a full day afterward, compared to those who completed the same exercise without being complimented on their performance.

The scientific reason for this? A compliment given in a genuine, professional, and appropriate way triggers the reward center in the brain, releasing dopamine. This neurotransmitter sends feel-good signals to our mind and body. When a compliment is well received, the exchange actually boosts the self-esteem of both the recipient and the giver of the praise.

How can a compliment improve your work life?

Need another good reason to compliment someone for a job well done? You just might learn something! Here’s a quick example from one of our Warwick customer service superstars, Melanie:

“Yesterday, I  had to do some quick research on a PO. The first place I looked, there were detailed notes from another account manager. It directed me to an email thread with exactly what I needed. Because of how well she does her job, I was able to quickly resolve my question. I took the time to send her a quick email complimenting her thoroughness, and let her know how much she brings to the table. Then something amazing happened! She showed me a coding trick within our email system to remind her of any special pricing agreed to. It was an amazing time-saving hack and I started doing the same!”

When recognition is due, take the time to verbally compliment your co-workers, fellow distributors, your sales team, and even your suppliers.  What do you admire about them? Is their work ethic off the charts? Did they meet or surpass a big goal recently? Give them kudos. Doing so creates a positive energy in the office and boosts morale.

How to praise clients and prospects the right way

It’s fine to compliment your customers and your prospects, too– but as with any compliment, be sure to keep it sincere, and reserve it for noteworthy occasions. “Compliments can be subject to the laws of economics, meaning that the more often you give them out, the less they mean,” warns Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., and Professor of Psychology UMass Amherst.

With a new prospect, you don’t want to give off the appearance that you’re trying too hard to make the sale. “If it’s clear that you stand to gain from your compliment, your compliment may seem insincere,” says Whitbourne.

When researching a new prospect, take note of their background. Are you truly inspired by how they built up their business? Do they have a knockout website or slogan? A sincere compliment is a great way to start a conversation out, build rapport, and warm up your prospects.

Why is this valuable in the sales process, you ask? It just so happens that the dopamine-producing part of the brain (the ventral medial prefrontal cortex) also handles social decision-making. In the world of selling, this is important because many buying decisions are emotionally based. Know how to work the compliments, and you could be on your way to a better bottom line.

Keep compliments genuine and work-related

A word of caution on complimenting, though– if you don’t have anything genuinely positive to say, don’t force it.  A compliment should be natural and sincere.  False flattery is easy to detect. If delivered inappropriately or disingenuously, a well-meaning compliment can completely backfire. Instead of creating a feel-good self-esteem boost, an inappropriate compliment can create an awkward relationship or uncomfortable situation. With that said, make sure to keep your compliments business or work related.  While it may be flattering, complimenting someone’s outfit or physical appearance may cross a personal boundary.

Compliments motivate, improve communication, and build trust

You don’t need to be an expert or even a social butterfly to master this skill. You only need to be sincere. People always give more when they feel appreciated, and often, they’ll become more relaxed, more trusting, and more communicative as a result. Start a culture of awareness for the positive developments around you. Co-workers, vendors, and clients all benefit from knowing that we notice and value them. We challenge you to send at least one person some much-needed kudos for a job well done today. You might get back more than you expect!

Did you compliment someone today? How did it impact you? We’d love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below or share with us on the Warwick Facebook page. 

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