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Complimenting is an art!

We have all received compliments at some point of time or the other. Some we remember, some we don’t. And then there are those few that we cherish – the ones that bring a smile on our face anytime we think of them. It could’ve been years back, but every time we think of them, the same feeling of happiness comes by again. What is it that makes a compliment tick and stick for so long? Here are a few things that made the difference:

1) How they feel depends on how you say – Firstly, like everything else, complimenting too is an art. And art means expression. Consider half the job done, when you say it with expressions and communicate your energy and enthusiasm behind the compliment. It is such that it lifts the emotional state of the receiver in an instant. Passionately communicate rather than merely stating. Compliment is an expression of praise or admiration not a generic talk.

2) Make it an identity – Anything positive can be made to an identity level statement. For example, you are a terrific orator (instead of, ‘you speak well’); you are a great singer (instead of, ‘you sing well’). This will help them get associated with a positive word for themselves and repeat their excellence in other contexts too.

3) Remember & recall – It is important that you are explicitly quoting what you liked the most. That way, you are giving evidence that you were fully there and focused; and by stating specifics, you are also helping the person understand what the best part about what they did was and help the other person bring their unconscious excellence to their consciousness. Hence repeating this behaviour will be easy for them in the future.

4) Don’t stop just yet – Stating one sentence is easy. But, if you really liked something and truly want to appreciate, be generous with words. If their actions blew you away, the least we can do is sweeping them off their feet with our words, isn’t it? This is one place where we wouldn’t leave a person wanting for more. Let’s just give it to them since they deserve it.

5) ‘Buts’ can be parked – Following up a compliment with a ‘but’ is as good as negating. It is said that whatever precedes ‘but’ is bullshit. Think about it – “I like you…but…” And you don’t even want to hear the rest of it because you know the first part is not absolute. A compliment is strong enough to stand alone. It doesn’t need the support of advises or suggestions. Let’s park them for a later date if required.

6) Stick to the present rather than the past– Sometimes, when we like something about a person in the present, we tend to compare it with the behaviour of theirs from the past which we didn’t appreciate as much. This can backfire at times. Also, rather than spending more time talking about a past that wasn’t appreciated, we might as well focus on the present that we appreciate. The golden rule is ‘stay put with the desired behaviour’.

7)  You could be better, but that is for later – It isn’t about you, so fully focus on the other. Even if you have done something similar, or if you were the one who is responsible for their excellence right now, that is not most important right now. Be magnanimous and selfless in appreciation of the other. A simple sentence like, “See, I told you” or “I did something very similar” can reduce the effect of a compliment. You can’t appreciate and advice someone at the same time!

8) Compliments don’t need cousins for comparison – Rather than telling someone that they were better than another, appreciate them for who they truly are. That way we are truly celebrating excellence without putting down another. When we compare we may forget to see their uniqueness.

9) Don’t miss the moment – As much as the compliment, the timing is also important. Say it as soon as you experience their excellence. Say someone won an award and if you wish them after 3 months, even when you had the chance to wish them the same day …!!!

10) And then stop – Anything in excess loses its credibility. Saying the same thing in different variations isn’t effective. In fact, it makes people think that there’s no depth or content in the compliment. So, it’s good to know when to stop just as well.

As much as it is a joy to receive a compliment, there is just as much in giving a compliment and lighting up someone’s day too. Intent is always right behind a compliment. Getting it right hence, becomes easy. There could be more things to make a good compliment a cherished experience. Feel free to share. And, have a wonderful day ahead!

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Helping without rescuing…

What I love the most about being a part of this world is that we each want to be useful to someone and help each other out most often.

However, helping without rescuing – what is this about and why is it important? Imagine this –

Scene 1: A person is drowning – You go and help them and rescue them from drowning.

Scene 2: A person is learning to swim – Here, you help them learn. If you rescue them from learning, the odds are that they may not learn the skill of swimming for themselves.

Drawing a parallel, when an individual is in a crisis, out of love and concern, we may want to not only help but also rescue the individual. This usually may either create a dependency or take away the learning for the individual; or if the individual is not looking for a solution, you could be rescuing them ahead of time. As a result, you could be held to task for rescuing without being asked. So, what do we do then? Just watch? No!

Firstly, it is good to understand where is the person in terms of the problem:

–          Do they see it as a challenge (at times, we might perceive it as a challenge but the person going through may not)

–          If yes, are they looking for a solution? (This is most important. We cannot help someone find something they are not looking for – else they can give you 100’s of reasons as to why any of your suggestions might not work for their problem)

–          If yes, do they want to find the solution ‘on their own’ or are they looking to ‘you’ for some guidance?

–          If they are looking to you, are they looking for moral support, information, listening and empathy or anything else?

If we are able to gauge the individual on the above, we’d be in a better place to play a role that is required for that situation rather than merely offering what we’d like to offer. Offering anything when it is not required loses its value and can also backfire.

Offering your solution to someone is a way of rescuing. Enabling a person to come to their solution is helping.
The trouble with rescuing is that it creates dependency. The advantage with helping is that it leaves the person feeling empowered and confident that they can find their own answers. So how do we do that? How can we help without rescuing?

One of the ways to do that is by asking open ended questions which facilitate a thought process within them. We could gently nudge them towards solution thinking by framing the questions with that kind of focus – For example – how would you like to go about this situation? What do you think might work? What would you want to do differently? What would you like to have happen? and the like.

It is usually observed that people respond well to these kinds of conversations. If you want to pick a needle in a haystack, all you need is a good magnet. Likewise, you can be that magnet by asking neutral, open ended questions (without having a personal agenda) that will facilitate a thought process in the individual. People usually find their own answers when given a positive space and unconditional acceptance. Such revelations are usually liberating because it is their own resource. It may not be as quick as you offering your solution right away, but this is more sustainable in the long run as they find their own solutions and own them too. This way, you are helping them help themselves. You are empowering them!

Beyond Deeds!

Give if you can, without expectations
Love if you can, without conditions
Live if you can, without regrets
Talk if you can, without negativity
Listen if you can, without judgement
Laugh if you can, without inhibitions
Think if you can, without boundaries
Know if you can, with realization
Dream if you can, with conviction
Appreciate, if you can, in all honesty
And certainly know that you can,
And that you surely will,
As soon as you WANT to.

A Life Beyond Measure!

We humans and our innate desire to measure!
Eternally curious to know which is the tallest mountain, the deepest sea, the prettiest flower.
Ever wondered if the sea or the mountain cared if they were the highest or the deepest?
They simply are what they are!
Does the rose ever care if it is the prettiest flower?
It simply is!

Fancy measuring happiness in litres or kilograms
And saying I am 10 litres happy or 2 tons sad? 🙂
The most precious things in life are often not measurable
Like love, happiness, gratitude, hunger, compassion, devotion, determination, sincerity, etc.
In a competitive world, will quantity overpower quality? Nope!

What fun would it be, if we lived for a 100 years,
Married at the right age, had kids at the right age,
Worked till the right age, retired at the right age,
Died at the right age (if there ever is one) –
And if we are not happy at the end of the day,
If we’ve not made a difference to the world in which we existed!

We call it one year when the earth completes one revolution.
Because of that, our age goes up by one.
What if the earth took 1000 days to complete one rotation?
Does that mean we are younger – because the measure changes?

We are only as young as we imagine
As happy as we feel
As intelligent as we think
As charming as we believe!

Unique you are and unique you will be!
To exist in a relative measure all the time is an effort!
You are one of a kind and there’s no one else quite like you.
With whatever combination you are made of;
Celebrate life – without comparison – it surely is worth it!

Even if a 100 things may have gone wrong in the past,
The 101st is waiting to happen the right way.
Believe in it! And your belief shall make it come true.
Measure not your life with the past
For ahead, lies the best!