The secret to giving appreciation

Great job! Nice! Looks good! Well done!

These are words of appreciation that are very well meant, yet they lose their strength because of their general nature. What does “great” mean? What was so “great” about it? If the job was done “well”, what was well?

The secret of giving appreciation in a powerful way is to make it specific and use evidence. Let’s start with the things we can give appreciation about

What to give appreciation about
When it comes to recognizing others, there are different “categories” we can give appreciation about
Things – house, holidays, clothes, you name it, anything somebody owns
Achievements – certificates, diplomas, personal achievements, all the events where somebody reached a milestone in their personal or professional life
Qualities – is about who we ARE as a person, the values and behaviors someone demonstrates

Make it unforgettable by emphasizing the other person’s qualities
What makes giving appreciation memorable? When it has emotional significance and relevance, and that is exactly what happens when we recognize others on their personal qualities. Qualities refer to the inherent or distinctive characteristics, features, or attributes that define a person and contribute to their identity. These traits can encompass a wide range of aspects, including personality, skills, abilities, values, and characteristics.

Personality traits
Patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that characterize an individual:
optimistic, resilient, empathetic, generous, honest, compassionate, integer, grateful, thoughtful, patient, courageous, adaptable, modest, positive, kind, self-disciplined, reliable, respectful, caring, enthusiastic, open-minded, diligent, self-aware, self-confident, tolerant, healthy, fit, flexible, amicable, sociable, loyal, assertive, creative, pro-active… and many more

Skills and abilities
Specific capabilities that a person had developed through experience, education or training:
technical expertise, communicative, problem solver, attention to detail, tech savy, organizational skills, effective project manager, agile, sales skills, time management, networking, presentation skills, critical thinker, … the skill that they excel in

Interpersonal qualities
These relate to how individuals interact with others:
team player, leader, active listener, collaborative, tactful, helpful, culturally sensitive, appreciative, conflict mediator, trustworthy, consensus builder, emotionally intelligent, … the qualities that are needed to build strong personal and professional relationships

The final wrap up – use evidence to make it stick
It’s important to note that even such specific qualities are often subjective and can be perceived differently by different people. Therefore, using evidence on why you give appreciation about a certain achievement or quality will make you recognition stick

You are assertive, the way you stood up in that meeting for your own opinion while keeping a positive atmosphere in the conversation demonstrates your ability to keep communication lines fair and open

You are an effective presenter, after your presentation yesterday, our VP came back to me and complimented us on how clear the message was

You are trustworthy, you get tasks done within your committed deadlines and if there would be a delay, you communicate this clearly in advance

Now it’s up to you, make that other person feel appreciated in a way they’ll never forget!