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The Art of The Compliment

What you notice in other people says a lot about you.

Kat Kou
Kat Kou
May 13 · 3 min read

The act of giving a genuine compliment is an art. When delivered with honesty and sincerity, they can have a powerful and long-lasting impact on the people around us. They can help create positive relationships, spark a new conversation, or even better —allowing us to see the good in ourselves.

Next time you are touched by someone else’s story, let them know what it allowed you to experience or discover. Telling someone they inspire you encourages them to keep striving for their goals.

Want to start cultivating a habit of appreciation for others? Read along for my favourite ways of giving genuine compliments.


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Use compliments to express gratitude.

“Always phrase your compliment in a positive way,” says Jill Lieberman, a counselor, motivational speaker and the author of Choose Happy. “Even though your heart may be in the right place, you want to make sure your words are well received.”

Rather than dedicating your energy to criticizing others, find the things that you like in people and let them know about it. It can indicate to others that you appreciate them as a person and that you are not self-focused.

The key to giving a good compliment is to be specific. There’s a difference between telling someone they’re amazing and telling them that the way they handled something was amazing. Acknowledging what they did specifically adds value and meaning to the compliment.

Some examples could be:

  • “I can tell that you worked really hard on this.”
  • “I always learn so much from your stories.”
  • “You are a great example of what a leader should be.”

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Use compliments to acknowledge one’s passion.

“Too many people give compliments on what they feel is important,” Tina Mertel says, “but if you want your compliment to be truly meaningful, first ask the recipient why they do what they do. Their answer will tell you what they find meaningful.”

Tina Mertel is an international career coach based in San Diego and New York with over 20 years of experience that mentors CEOs, managers, as well as directors from all over the world. Through her experiences with working with these people, she has learned that knowing a bit about your recipient will go a long way in making a compliment truly meaningful.

Next time you want to brighten someone’s day, acknowledge their passion, creativity and/or intelligence. These compliments show that you appreciate their abilities.


Photo by Lauren Richmond on Unsplash

Use compliments to inspire people you admire.

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
— William James

The foundation of an authentic relationship begins with a compliment. After all, it’s a powerful tool for inspiring and encourage others to succeed and accomplish more in life. Some even say that receiving a compliment is as much of a social reward as being given money.

Compliments are one of the easiest ways to spread happiness around you and to increase the confidence in others. Start cultivating a habit of appreciation and you’ll begin to notice a positive change in your relationships.

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The Narrative

What’s your story?

Kat Kou

Written by

Kat Kou

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”

The Narrative

What’s your story?

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