Praise is vital to maintaining positive relationships. But why do compliments often make us uneasy and self-conscious?
While some people are adept at graciously accepting positive feedback and basking in the warm glow of recognition, some are left feeling a little uncomfortable.
Research shows that nearly 70 percent of people experience some degree of anxiety about giving and receiving praise.
What makes praise so tricky? Part of the awkwardness stems from childhood. From an early age, most of us were taught to remain humble. But there are a variety of other reasons.
Some people are unsure how to respond while others believe that they ought not to accept praise; that there is something inherently wrong or egotistical about doing so.
Some people feel unworthy or undeserving, while others try to deflect attention from themselves. Some people undervalue the importance of their contributions. Some feel more comfortable putting the spotlight on others instead of themselves.
Praise is also intimate, and that can spark feelings of embarrassment. Someone is sharing how they feel about us, or an opinion of something we didn’t expect. This oftentimes conflicts with our own paradigm of ourselves.
Here are some tips on delivering and accepting praise with grace:
1. Humbly say, “Thank you.”
“Thank you,” in any language, is the simplest and most powerful phrase you can say.
These words are unassuming and humble. When you receive a compliment, say something like, “Thank you, it makes my day to hear that.” Or, “Thank you, I appreciate your kind words.”
2. Don’t deflect a compliment
When you receive a compliment from someone, your first reaction may be to deflect the attention. For example, if someone says, “I love your dress.” It’s not polite to say, “This old thing? I bought it on sale 10 years ago.”
Or, if a friend expresses her gratitude for your help, it’s not polite to say, “Oh, I wasn’t that helpful. Anyone could have done it.” That response downplays your role and insults the person who paid you the compliment.
Deflecting or rejecting a compliment comes with the risk of undermining the person who is giving it. They may even walk away feeling insulted. Instead, smile and embrace the moment.
3. Mind your nonverbal cues
Body language is a powerful communication tool. If your body language doesn’t match your words, you could send the wrong message.
Crossing your arms or looking away be misinterpreted as being disinterested. Multitasking, while someone is trying to have a conversation with you, is downright rude.
Use direct eye contact when talking to others. Lean slightly forward and smile when you receive praise.
4. Acknowledge team effort
If you receive recognition for something you did with others, acknowledge your team members’ work. For example, if you co-host a gala with a friend, publicly recognize his or her efforts.
Say something like, “I’m so glad you enjoyed tonight’s event. I’ll pass your kind words along to Erin. She was an outstanding co-host.”
5. Follow proper protocol
If you receive an award at a public ceremony, accept it with your left hand. Keep your right hand free for shaking hands with other attendees.
6. Receive toasts with grace
If someone pays you a compliment in the form of a toast, don’t drink from your glass at the end of the speech. This is the equivalent of singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself at your own party.
The best course of action is to nod your head in acknowledgment and smile. When the host concludes the toast, it is your duty to respond. In other words, return the toast by saying a few words and thanking those who toasted you.
There you go! These are the six ways to recieve compliments in a graceful way. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!