Think back to the last awards ceremony held in your field. Got it? OK, now name three people who won something at that ceremony and why they won their award.
Most of us would have difficulty with that.
But can you remember three people who personally thanked you for something at some time in your life? Do you recall what they said or wrote you? Does it surprise you to realize that you can remember this even though it was months, years, or maybe even decades ago? Does their approval make you smile and feel good about yourself even now?
You can probably say “Yes” to all of the above, because a real person made a real connection with you, and that’s something special.
A businesswoman once told me that we should never discount compliments we receive. It’s far less trouble for someone to say nothing at all, while it takes real effort to think of something nice to say and to follow through by saying it to your face. If an otherwise honest person didn’t really mean the compliment, it’s unlikely they’d make the effort. So praise delivered in person has great power and enormous value.
According to research, when given a list of 10 possible things that would motivate them, employees always list praise as the Number One motivator.
Successful people are skilled at finding and using effective appreciation tools. Appreciation is both effective and lasting. So if you’re chasing success, it makes sense to appreciate more people, more often.
If you worry that consciously increasing the appreciation you deliver, will come across as forced or phony, remember that if your appreciation is relevant and immediate, it will be honest, too.
Also, not all forms of appreciation work for all people. Some respond to things they hear, others to what they see, or feel. Part of making a true connection with someone is thinking about them and about which of those methods they’d like best. If in doubt, use a combination of the three.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your appreciation has only one effect. It’s a gift, and like all gifts, it rebounds on you, too. It creates positive energy around you. If you believe that like attracts like, then by being appreciative, you’re more likely to attract appreciation.