How to give clients a compliment

When you are meeting a new client for the first time it is important to build a good working relationship. This takes time and effort and includes important conversational skills such as active listening and assertiveness which we have addressed in this column in the past. Another important skill is giving compliments. Research has shown that you are more likely to be perceived by others as understanding and sympathetic if you compliment them. This is hardly surprising as who among us doesn’t want to be appreciated.

In building a relationship with a new client look for things about the person that you honestly like and then follow these five steps for delivering a successful compliment:

  1. Begin by saying the other person’s name. People like to hear their names spoken.
  2. Be direct. Praise in a straightforward way what you like about their behaviour (“Mary, I love how you have decorated your room”) or their possessions (“Mark, what a wonderful grandfather clock you have”) or appearance (“Sally, you look great in that colour”).
  3. Be Specific. You can make your praise more believable by volunteering details about what you admire. “Stephen, I love your garden, especially the beautiful roses and the perfectly trimmed hedge”.
  4. Ensure your nonverbal communication matches your words. Give your compliment with a smile!
  5. Follow up your compliment with a question if the person dismisses the compliment. Your client might respond “This old thing, I have had it forever!’ To help your client accept the compliment you can respond “Wow I would never have guessed it’s old…It looks fantastic! How have you looked after it so well?”

If we want people to like us, we need to let them know what we like about them. Giving compliments, listening intently and communicating assertively will help you build strong working relationships with your clients. Don’t forget when you receive a compliment, be sure to say thank-you and offer some free information related to the compliment. It works both ways!

If you have concerns for your client’s well-being, please let them know Independence Australia offers a counselling and psychology service for eligible people with a disability. Click here for more information.