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Just a sec, let’s start with a compliment!

March 1st is World Compliment Day. How can you contribute to the most positive day of the year at your workplace?

Bright Plus

2 min. reading time

Little effort, great reward

World Compliment Day started as a Dutch initiative, urging people to show and express their mutual appreciation. Suppose that people worldwide give every three colleagues or family members a pat on the back, which those three people replicate in turn to another three individuals, and that the chain is not broken. The result is that masses of individuals will feel recognised and happy, if only for a moment. This is how you can contribute in a simple way to a world of respect, mutual trust and constructive communication.


Free and available to all

The idea is entirely non-commercial, as opposed to Valentine’s Day, for example; nobody has to pay for it, and nobody profits from it, but everyone will benefit!



A need for recognition

Wanting to belong, the need to be seen by others, to be understood, to know that what you do is meaningful... all these and more are sensitive issues and human desires. A compliment is a very simple way to assuage these needs.


Focus on your work environment

Lack of recognition often leads to resignation or even absence due to illness or burnout. Regular positive feedback, on the other hand, motivates employees to do good work and encourages commitment and collegiality. Job satisfaction rises, and so does productivity. Behaviour that is rewarded is repeated.

Hierarchy is not a factor

The importance of your function in the organisation is irrelevant. Whether those who always deliver extremely high quality work or the workers carrying out the most menial tasks day in and day out, no one should be forgotten. Everyone likes to be congratulated on what they do!

You can learn to make compliments

We generally know how to pinpoint something that goes wrong. Yet, many of us seem to be somewhat awkward at expressing praise... Here are a few tips:

  • Always be sincere.
  • Do not overdo it; otherwise you will lose your credibility.
  • Speak in the first person.
  • Speak to an individual, not a group.
  • Give your compliment in person, avoiding e-mail or text messages if possible.
  • Be specific; clearly indicate what you find so great, striking or admirable. Give an example if possible.
  • Praise not just a result, but also perseverance, creativity or effort.
  • Choose a way that suits you and the person receiving the compliment. For instance, do not make that person the centre of attention if you know that he or she does not appreciate the fuss.
  • Trust your inspiration, playfulness or sense of humour.
  • Never use a compliment to introduce a request to carry out a new assignment.
  • It’s okay to praise someone “behind their back”; the rumour will circulate and chances are the compliment will reach the ears of the person who deserves it; that’s also rewarding.

Do not wait until the performance appraisal interview

Actually, every day of the year should be a Compliment Day! Do not focus on that one date or the annual appraisal interview to let someone know that you are happy with his or her work or behaviour. Give your compliment as a welcome surprise at an unexpected moment. If you do, you might reach your objective with even greater success.

A way of living

Every person can turn his or her appreciation and motivation into an inspiring lifestyle, which others would want to emulate. All you have to do is practice giving compliments until it becomes second nature. If you can make even one person happy every day, your presence on this earth has already made a difference.