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In-Depth Tips from Dr English

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Responding to Compliments Gracefully

28 Feb 2024

good jobYou would think this should be easy. Someone says something nice to you and you say ‘thank you’. However, for many people it is not as easy or as simple as that. From an early age, many people are told to be modest and to reject compliments and praise. As a result, people often find it difficult to respond to compliments and may seem ungrateful or graceless.

Learning how to accept a compliment gracefully and gratefully not only lets you feel good about your accomplishments, but also allows you to show an appropriate level of generosity to the person who complements you.

Below are three general guidelines to follow when taking compliments:

1. Start by saying ‘Thank you’.
2. Show that you feel that the compliment is meaningful. ‘From you, that means a lot’ is a good response.
3. Share praise and acknowledge the part of others. Name specific names and acknowledge your colleagues.

Things to avoid when taking compliments include:

1. Confessing unworthiness. This makes you seem modest. However, it also makes you seem ungrateful.
2. Responding with a long speech.

Below are some possible scripts for taking compliments.

Manager: James, I just want to say that I think you handled that confrontation very effectively and intelligently. Well done.

You: Thank you. Coming from you, that means a lot. From working in this department, I have learned that you need to be a good listener. Steven also gave me a lot of good advice.

Colleague: Congratulations on the promotion. You really deserve it.

You: Thank you. I’ve had a good example set for me. You’ve given me lots of help and guidance.

Manager: Excellent proposal Sam. It’s really clear and well written and I don’t give praise lightly.

You: I know you don’t! Thank you. I am very happy with your feedback. It means a great deal to me.


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