William James, an American psychologist and philosopher, (1842 - 1910) said,

The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

My husband and I attended a family workshop last Saturday. The facilitator had just developed this workshop and it was the first time that she presented her workshop to a group of friends. She had asked the small audience to evaluate her presentation and provide suggestions for improvement. Boy, and did they shoot her down. Hey, all of us can improve, but there is lots we do right, don't you think? It reminded me of the power that words have.

Whether you are giving someone feedback, or plan a speech or talk to the media, these principles can make the significant difference to your message:

Here's some good old wisdom:

  • Use words of encouragement: A few words of encouragement go a long way to motivate a person to improve.
  • Use words of praise: It spurs people to improve performance.
  • Use words of correction in a firm yet kind manner. Make concrete suggestions how the person can improve.
  • Use words of appreciation: Positive words become a creative force generating positive energy.

Mark Twain said

I can live for two months on a good compliment.