Give honest, sincere appreciation

June 3, 2011 book 2 min read

This post is part of my weekly study of How To Win Friends and Influence People.

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I posses, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.

Chales Schwab

I am not the most thoughtful person, so showing appreciation does not come natural to me. Refraining from criticism is easier because I am often reminded of my effort to avoid it whenever I am tempted to criticize. I want to develop a habit of being attuned to the work of others.

We all like to hear affirmation. When someone notices our hard work and shows appreciation for it, we become even more motivated.

Of coarse flattery seldom works with discerning people. It is shallow, selfish and insincere…The difference between appreciation and flattery? … One is sincere and the other insincere.

Dale Carnegie

I’m glad Carnegie made this point because I think it is essential. As a litmus test, when you give appreciation, ask yourself: am I offering appreciation to make them feel better about themselves, or to make them feel better about me. Unfortunately, the later is often the case, but with practice the former becomes more prevalent.

Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime–repeat them years after you have forgotten them.

Dale Carnegie

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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.