Do Your Communication Skills Guarantee You Success?

I remember going back to work feeling terrified after a long career break to have a family. Over time, I built my confidence by studying communication and relationship skills, observing confident, successful women and learning how to present a well groomed and stylish professional image. These attributes helped me to build a successful and confident personal, business and social life. My self esteem increased exponentially and I went from shrinking violet to leader and manager at work . This change was a slow and arduous process for me that took many years to achieve. Had I had a Coach and Style and Image Consultant, I would have made this transformation in less than half the time.

Because I know that satisfying life transformations like mine are possible, even for shy people like me, I am here to help you achieve a much more confident and successful life a lot faster than working on your own. Today’s blog is the first in a series aimed to give life coaching tips that will take your self confidence and interpersonal skills to a new level, making the difference between you being an average person to an outstanding one, in all areas of your life.

Develop the art of paying someone a compliment

Studies have shown that the best way to achieve the desired behaviour in others is by ensuring our positive comments far exceed our criticisms. This is as true with adults as it is with children and teenagers. Everyone loves to receive a sincere compliment. Mark Twain said he could live for three months on a good compliment!

At Work

When paying a compliment or giving praise, it is useful to personalise it by using the person’s name and being specific about why you are giving the compliment. For example as a manager, rather than saying, ‘thanks, that’s a great report’, it’s far more satisfying for Ann to hear her boss say, ‘thanks for that excellent report, Ann. I really appreciate you handing it in on time and for your superb analysis of the end of year results with such helpful suggestions for targets for improvement’. Whether this is received by e mail, card or verbally, Ann knows exactly what you value about her work and will want to ensure she replicates this standard, thus living up to your high expectations.  However, the manager who takes the time and trouble to write a hand written compliment on a card is really investing in relationships. This a lovely, extra mile  touch that can be looked at often and shown with pride at home to family members!

 In Family Relationships

This method of paying compliments really works in the family with children and in the classroom as well when praising children and young people.  It’s far more meaningful for them to hear you address them by name and to know why you are complimenting them, rather than just throwing out general compliments because you understand the need to be positive. As a parent, rather than just saying, ‘you’re a great son, Harry’, it’s more important for Harry to hear specifically why you think he’s a great son when you say something like,’Harry, I was delighted you tidied your room this morning without even being asked. It shows how responsible and mature you are’.

In partnerships too it’s the little daily things that make all the difference like being specific when you give a compliment. A woman prefers to hear why her husband thinks she’s wonderful rather than just hearing: ‘Sally,you’re  a wonderful woman’. Better to say: ‘Sally, you’re a wonderful woman; you  really made our  guests feel so welcome when you went to the trouble of making those chocolate chip cookies,even when you were rushed off your feet yesterday. It was so much nicer than just opening a packet of biscuits like most of us would have done!’ And here’s a special tip for wives and girlfriends: men love to be complimented specifically when they’ve done a job around the house. Rather than just saying,’you did a great job on the garden, Bill’, if you’re  Bill’s partner, make sure you go with Bill when he’s finished the garden and make a big deal of telling him how pleased you are with the way he’s tidied the borders, mowed the lawn and watered all the plants in the hanging baskets as well. This is great for Bill’s self esteem as well as investing in his willingness to please you in this way again and again.

Receiving Compliments

Just as there’s a skill to giving a compliment, there’s also a skill in receiving one. When someone compliments your new dress or suit for example, don’t deflect it back by saying something self deprecating like:’Oh it’s just a cheap old thing I threw on today’. Instead, look the person in the eye, smile and simply say something that acknowledges the compliment and shows you enjoyed receiving it such as :’thank you, I’m glad you like it’.This shows your confidence and self esteem and these qualities  are super attractive; watch out though- don’t show your insecurities by fishing for compliments- this is not!

For Coaching in relationship skills and other aspects of successful living, see my coaching page for more information. I have some places currently available. The first 30 minutes is free.


  1. Enlightening article! Thanks.

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