Leading the World by Supporting Christian Coaching

Don’t Forget This In a Conversation


“Good job.” “Way to go.” or “Congratulations.” We may think of complimenting as flattery, or that complimenting is nothing more than “nice” words that make a person feel good. End of story.


Complimenting is much more than a few nice words. It’s an important part of a conversation and when used intentionally, sincerely, and authentically–generates trust and relationship.

You may be asking: What makes that true? 

Every conversation triggers a chemical component in our brain that provokes thoughts and feelings that activate threat (distrust) or safety (trust). When a person meets you for the first time, the person’s brain immediately goes to work reading the content and emotions sent his or her way to determine whether to trust or distrust you.

Example. You have a first-time meeting at a coffee shop with Tony. At the meeting he points out his new car that is sitting outside of the shop.

New car Tony . . . and a nice looking one at that. I’m happy for you.

When you intentionally notice a tangible addition to what Tony owns, are sincere in your expression of being happy for him, you are celebrating and sharing in his happiness or satisfaction. Tony experiences the content and emotions being sent his way from the compliment, and he becomes open to further conversation because he determines you can be trusted.

Be mindful of your conversation and the emotional content you bring. Are you sending a message: “You can trust me.”

Let’s look at another example. When you intentionally notice something a person does, you are expressing authentic respect, esteeming the person, and contributing to his or her confidence.

“Congratulations Tanessha. You completed the first year of your PhD program. That’s a significant accomplishment.”

Tanessha hears your view of reality for her accomplishment and experiences the content and emotions being sent her way. This promotes a genuine connection between you and Tanessha.

Words either cause us to bond and trust more fully or they cause us to break rapport.

Often a relationship is created or dissolved at the first introduction. Karl Speak, author of Be Your Own Brand states it well: “Your personal brand is a perception held in others’ mind…”When you are authentic, sincere, and genuine in noticing something that is notable about a person, a relationship can begin to be forged with trust as the foundation.

Complimenting is a relationship building skill, confidence builder, and a respectful expression.

Today, I encourage you to intentionally notice what a person does that is notable and compliment that person.

About the Author: Mary Verstraete is a leadership consultant and coach who works with ambitious business professionals that want to leverage their leadership.

As a business consultant, Mary works with organizations to establish a culture of synergistic teams, systems and processes for greater employee engagement, employee loyalty, and communication effectiveness.

Mary is President and Cofounder of the Center for Coaching Excellence, a distinctive training organization that focuses on developing highly competent coaches through a mentor-training approach and a training model of coaching that easily transitions into professional and personal conversations. Mary continues to expanded coaching into diverse industries by developing customized coach training used in companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and MJ Senior Housing.

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