How To Give a Compliment

Have you ever received a hollow compliment from someone? “You are doing a great job” – “Keep up the great work” While they mean well with those words, the truth is the compliment doesn’t do much for you and it doesn’t engender much respect or connection to them. As leaders, we are told to praise our people. As parents, we want to raise with praise. But I fear that all too often what we do is give hollow, meaningless compliments and no one is that much better for them. Not the giver nor the receiver. As a family, we started doing something a couple of years ago that has helped me learn to give genuine compliments. Every night before we go to bed, we say a family prayer. We rotate whose turn it is to say the prayer going in order of age. I go first, then my wife Sarah,
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5 Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea

I’ve had a couple experiences this week that reminded me of the importance of being kind. With that thought I wanted to repost a blog I write a couple years ago – 5 Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea: Over the last week the most shared video on social media has been the video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry being a jerk to a clerk after her car was towed. If you haven’t seen the video you can see it here – https://abc13.com/news/espn-reporter-britt-mchenry-suspended-after-temper-tantrum-caught-on-video/665572/ It is disturbing. The video led to a swift one week suspension from ESPN but the result will probably be a lot bigger and longer lasting than a week suspension for Britt McHenry. It is going to take a long time for people to see her as anything other than a jerk. It will affect her career, relationships, and reputation. Which brings me to this
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Everybody Likes Gifts

Everybody likes gifts. They may say they don’t but they do. What’s not to like? The surprise. The fact that someone thought of you. Gifts are great. But can we give better gifts? A few weeks ago we had some friends join us for a little getaway at out cabin. We had brought a new set of dishes with us to replace the ones there and while we were unloading, we dropped two mugs and they shattered.  Definitely not a big deal.  We cleaned up and moved on.  During their stay, we casually mentioned that we wanted to plant some wild flowers in a field below the cabin. We had a wonderful weekend. We later received a thank you gift from them, two mugs, exactly replacing the ones that had broken and wildflower seeds! Their simple and thoughtful gift made my wife and I feel so grateful and important and definitely made us
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Can You Be Genuinely Happy For Others?

Last week I overheard my son and his friend talking about something that happened in their class where everyone got a bag with a prize inside. They were talking about how one child got a better prize than everyone else. All the other children were saying “That’s not fair,” and “He doesn’t deserve that.” All were upset about why this one boy got something better than they did. After hearing my son and his friend hash this out for I while, I took the opportunity to talk to them about how important it is in your life to be able to celebrate others and not have to be upset or try and tear other people down because they did something or were able to succeed in some way you weren’t. I think that is one of the biggest problems that we struggle with in life is the ability to be
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Six Ways To Make People Like You

  When it comes to books about networking, building relationships and working with people, the undisputed classic is “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Dale Carnegie wrote the book in 1936 and it has been read by millions of people since. One of the great realizations in the book is that although some people are more extroverted or affable, working with people is a learned skill that anyone can master. In the second section of the book, Carnegie offers what he calls “Six Ways To Make People Like You.” These are simple suggestions that can make a huge difference in the way you work with people.   #1 – Be Genuinely Interested In Other People. Studies show that the most frequently said word is “I.” People love to talk about themselves, their lives, their hobbies, their families, their passions, etc. When you interact with people, ask questions and allow
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Develop Outward Thinking

The most effective formula for exerting real, positive and lasting influence on others is to consistently think of others first. Gordon B. Hinckley, a personal hero of mine, once said, “The best antidote for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is to help someone even more tired.” He recalled a time early in his life when he was far from home on an assignment, feeling forlorn, abandoned and discouraged, and he received a simple piece of unexpected advice that transformed his life: “I wrote a letter home to my good father and said that I felt I was wasting my time and his money. My father was a wise and inspired man. He wrote a very short letter to me, which said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.” Placing
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Go Deeper, Get Personal

A while back I went to a networking event for lunch. There were about eighty people there and we were assigned to tables with eight at each table. Throughout lunch, the conversation was good, but it was somewhat awkward and very superficial. Everyone wore a nametag with their name and the name of their company, so the typical question was directed at the name of the company on the nametag. “Tell me about XYZ company?” or “What do you do at XYZ?” Then the event director introduced an activity. We went around the table and each of us had two minutes to answer a personal question and then two minutes to talk about what we do professionally. The personal question was either “What is a mistake you have made in the past?” or “What has been a memorable sporting event for you?” I don’t think it mattered what the personal
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Do You Keep Score?

In any relationship we are building, we keep an internal score sheet.  In the healthiest relationships, both sides strive to keep the score even. No one wants to feel like predators or prey. We subconsciously or even consciously keep track of the exchange of favors in relationships.  Being conscious of this can help you going into any relationship, personal or business. If we are mentally keeping score, making sure we aren’t in the red, or too far in the black, you come across as a more likeable person and can build better and more balanced relationships. People hate feeling guilty and they also hate feeling taken advantage of.  When we are keeping track of the internal score card of our relationship, we can be assured that neither party will feel out of sorts. Walster, Walster and Berscheild in their 1978 study proposed the theory of equal relationships, showing how our
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Validation Is The Key To Winning Every Argument

Disagreement is a part of every day life.  Whether in your personal life, business life, social life – disagreements happen.  I came across an interesting article, The Mistake You Make in Every Argument, that gave an interesting perspective on how to make the best of the often times unavoidable argument. How do you respond when someone says something you disagree with? Do you calmly tell the person why they are mistaken, do you jump right in to defensive mode and yell or do you retreat and let them have their way?  In his article, Dr. Liane Davey makes the argument that all of those responses are wrong and the only way to get results in an argument is to first validate the other’s point of view. The first thing you have to do is validate the other person even though you completely disagree with them! See, when you validate the
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Do’s and Don’ts of A Good Listener

Listening is an essential skill in business and life. We could all improve our relationships by improving our listening skills. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you brush up on your listening skills.   Do – Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smiles) Ignore distractions   Don’t – Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone’s sentences  
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