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In this video, I’ll tell you about Cheryl Ferguson’s tips on how to offer a compliment that will truly make someone’s day.

I will also share some of the “secret sauce” I use when I offer someone an appreciation that really makes it land in a positive way for them.


Hi, I’m Doyle Banks. If you’re the kind of person who really enjoys helping other people feel better, then I’ve got a couple of tips for you today that I think you will really enjoy.

I came across an article about a high school music teacher in Winnipeg, Canada, named Cheryl Ferguson and she did a TEDx talk about how to give compliments that make other people glow. In her piece, her talk, she said, first of all, you want to say their name, want to say their name. Now, who of us doesn’t enjoy hearing our name, especially when it’s in the context of a, a compliment or an appreciation?

It reminds me of the email story that went around a couple of years ago, about some adults who had asked some young children the question, “What is love?” And one response was, “When someone loves you the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

That was attributed to a little person named Billy, age four years old. Now I’ve also seen that attributed to the famous author, Jodi Picoult. So I’m not sure who said it originally, but I think you’ll agree that it’s a great reminder that saying people’s names really is meaningful to them and really can lift them up.

Secondly, Cheryl says that we want to be specific in our compliments. Now, I learned a unique way to offer appreciations or compliments through the work of Marshall Rosenberg who wrote the book, “Nonviolent Communication; A Language of Life.” Nonviolent Communication is also known as Compassionate Communication. But, he said that we want to be really specific about the thing that the person did or said that we enjoyed and then we want to tell them what feeling came up for us, what positive feeling came up for us. And finally, we want to tie that to the need or needs that that met for us.

So for example, one thing that I really joy doing is I order my groceries online. And then I drive over to the store to pick them up. And some person, wonderful person brings them out to the car, puts them in the car for me, and I can go on my way. So quite often I’ll get out of the car and visit with them a bit. And then I’ll say, “You know, I really appreciate you.” And if I can see their name tag, I’ll say their name. “I really appreciate that you came to work today and that you did all this work to help make my day better and give me some ease and give me some support around my health and, and safety with all the COVID stuff going on.”

And when I offer that simple little appreciation, you can tell, I can tell it just completely lifts that person up and they get a twinkle in their eye and you can see the smile in their eyes if they’ve got the mask on. And it just is a wonderful exchange.

So be specific, tell the person what they said or did that you enjoyed. Tell them the feeling that came up for you and the need that their action or words met.

Finally, Cheryl says to try not to praise and run. In other words, stick around for a few seconds, if it’s appropriate, and you can engage with the person and enjoy the moment together. So many times we are, we get in such a hurry in life and we just, even if we remember to offer someone a compliment or express our appreciation, we’re so quick to go on to the next thing. So if you can, when you can, just pause for a moment and interact with the person some. Let them bask, if you will, in the glow of receiving your appreciation. All right?

So, say their name, be specific and try to spend a little time with them if you can, if it’s appropriate in that context.

That’s what I wanted to share with you today. Again, my name is Doyle Banks. I’m a life coach, and I love to work with people who are interested in making personal and professional transformations in their lives, learning things like how to express an appreciation or give a compliment that can help make other people’s lives better. I enjoy helping people like you make your life better.

So thank you for your kind attention. If you would, please share something that you’ve done by way of offering a compliment or expressing an appreciation to someone and let us know whose day you brightened.

All right. Thanks again. I’ll look forward to seeing you in the next video!

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