Compliments that are relevant are the most sincere. “Giving random compliments that can be easily transferred, such as ‘you’ve got great hair,’ will come across as superficial unless there is something really outstanding about the particular observation,” says Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas. “A compliment must be authentic, delivered in a meaningful tone of voice, using a genuine smile, and seem and feel believable.” These are the best compliments anyone can ever receive.
Find out what motivates the person
People loved to be complimented on their passions. “Knowing a little bit about your recipient will go a long way in making a compliment truly meaningful,” says Tina Mertel, an executive coach and facilitator of relationship-based training programs with offices in San Diego and New York. “Too many people give compliments on what they feel is important,” she says, “but if you want your compliment to be truly meaningful, first ask the recipient why they do what they do. Their answer will tell you what they find meaningful.” Not sure how to start? Here’s how expert minglers naturally make small talk.