The famous psychologist, Dr. George Crane, said, “Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good will on earth.”
Psychologists want you to know that sincere compliments-appreciation, which is a form of love-mean as much to people as food, work, and the other essentials of normal, happy living. So here is one of your most important opportunities for gaining the good will that is necessary for a successful career, marriage, and for friendships, as well as the satisfaction that comes from being helpful.
Do you have a rich, well-chosen treasury of complimentary words to draw on? For the success of your compliments is limited by your vocabulary. If the only verbal bouquets that you can give are “nice” and “terrific,” you are not doing an effective job of building good will for yourself, or satisfaction for others.
Everyone hungers for special recognition. That is why a written note is more appreciated than a printed greeting card. So instead of offering stereotyped compliments that sound like ten-cent greeting cards, bestow some of the specific and highly valued adjectives that you will find in the next three chapters. They will show that you are appreciative, that you have been moved to choose the special word for the particular person.
Psychologists and ministers tell us of the power of positive words for winning friends and success. So is it not logical that a vocabulary of expressive words of appreciation is of prime importance. Our language has many more words for describing bad traits than for describing good ones. So the best words of praise are actually verbal gems. Here is your chance to own many of these “success words” and in the words of an old popular song, “Accentuate the Positive.”
THE SECRET OF FINDING SOMETHING TO COMPLIMENT IN PEOPLE
Will Rogers, America’s beloved, homespun sage, said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” What Rogers meant, of course, was that he found some admirable quality in every man he met.
We can find something to compliment in everyone if we adopt Will Rogers’ sympathetic, positive attitude toward people. So develop the habit of looking for good points, not bad ones. You will find what you are looking for.
You will develop your complimenting ability faster if you try to appreciate and commend everyone, regardless of whether they can “do you any good.” The fact is that every compliment you give does you some good, even if it only helps you to develop an attitude and a skill.
Ask yourself; what is commendable in the other person, in his abilities, character, personality, and appearance? Observe him alertly. Draw him out, about his work, his family, his home, and his pastimes.
Don’t overlook a person’s lesser attributes. A successful executive may be bored by the constant praise he receives for his business astuteness. Yet he may glow with pride when someone lauds his adeptness in amateur photography, or his debonair appearance.
You don’t always have to find a direct compliment to give a person. When you say a good word to someone about his family, home, or hobby, you are indirectly complimenting him. Of course, the easiest way to show your admiration of a person is by asking his opinion. You might ask his opinion on something connected with his work (but not free advice), his hobby, the news, movies, books, etc.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE WORDS IN CONVERSATION
If you have studied these first three chapters faithfully, you will soon notice a marked improvement in your ability to get along with people, to win friends and good will. I mentioned earlier that the famous psychologist, Dr. George Crane, declared, “Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good will on earth.” Now you possess a vocabulary of some of the most powerful words of appreciation in the English language.
But you will notice that you have improved not only your human relations vocabulary, but also your personality. Your philosophy of life has become more constructive. This is because you are absorbing, and we hope, using the power of positive words. From now on, make a special effort to add such words to your vocabulary.
You can use this great power of positive words in other ways, besides paying compliments. Use it to keep your conversation cheerful. Avoid talking about unsuccessful deals, sickness, and accidents. Talk about the constructive, optimistic, positive side of life.
Just what is this power of positive words in conversation? It is simply that people instinctively seek the pleasant, avoid the unpleasant. They have enough troubles of their own. When they talk to you, they are looking for a “lift.” That is why the cheerful, appreciative person is more popular and more successful than the one who is always trying to sell us sadness and pessimism-the two things that we are never in the market for! This applies to both business and social conversation.
Whenever you speak, remember that you are painting a picture of yourself. Be sure the title isn’t “Hard Luck” “Pessimism,” or “Illness.” Would you want a picture like that in your office or home?