A webinar attendee asked me this week about the best way to express recognition to someone. Were there any great examples of recognition I had heard? They asked what I would recommend that people say to give more meaningful recognition.
What I attempted to tell this person was to stick to the principles behind giving amazing recognition and not to script out what to say or write.
I’ll share with you some key ideas about this concept.
You would think that giving recognition to people was something pretty easy to do, right?
Unfortunately, even if you get over the resistance and discomfort of recognizing people, there’s another challenge to overcome. That’s the challenge of expressing your recognition the best way possible.
It doesn’t matter how you give your recognition. It could be verbally face-to-face, on the phone, or through videoconferencing. Then again, it might be by text-based, SMS, a handwritten card, or an electronic ecard. Whatever way you do it, I want to recommend that you put more time and care into how you say your recognition.
Your words could make or break the recognition you give people. I don’t think we fully realize the impact our words have on employees. Blogger and author, Rachel Wolchin, said, “Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you, may stick with someone else for a lifetime.”
I want you to examine more closely the type of vocabulary you use. Check out the phrasing of your recognition messages more carefully.
Sarcasm is also known as verbal irony, and humor often tempers it. It’s a type of speech that has a semantic interpretation opposite to its literal meaning. Too often it is used to say something opposite of what is true, intending to make someone look or feel foolish.
Whatever people say sarcastically should not be taken literally. However, that’s not saying people don’t take it the wrong way. As communication experts will tell you, many people have been on the receiving end of sarcastic comments and it can hurt.
Imagine if each person gave recognition just one percent better than the last time that they recognized someone. That’s all it takes to enhance your recognition practices and optimize the usage of your recognition programs. One percent improvement is all it takes. And here are some ways for you to give better recognition than anyone else every day.
Start your workday off by sending out or giving a thought of gratitude. Even if it is only one person you communicate with, imagine the difference you will make. Don’t open up your email inbox until you have emailed a message or spoken gratitude to someone.
Actively smile whenever you greet someone and especially when you recognize them. Whether face-to-face or virtually through the various video conference tools, a smile engages people and sends positive, emotional, non-verbal communication.
Ensure you make eye contact with people you express recognition to. When two people make eye contact when communicating, their brains actually synchronize emotional brainwaves and it enhances the receptiveness to what they said.
Be enthusiastic and use a positive tone of voice when verbally recognizing others. A positive tone of voice conveys the words communicated in a healthier and better way. Work to be more excited about the recognition you give, and people will feel it.
Use the person’s name in the text boxes of your online recognition programs. It is easy to neglect using a person’s name in an online program because you have selected who the message or ecard is going to. But people read the message in the box, so use it.
In text, writing, or speech, tell people specifically what you’re recognizing them for. Refrain from using the too short and sweet generic statements with your recognition. Tell them exactly what it was you noticed that impressed you. They really want to know.
In the same manner, be specific about how the person’s actions impacted others. Too often people do not know how their positive actions affected others. Share the impact their behaviors had on a peer, a customer, their boss, or for the company.
Work on using positive vocabulary versus neutral words when recognizing people. Stop using words like, “good job” or “well done.” The words “good” and “well” are neutral. And being more specific, eliminates “job,” and “done”. Get more creative. Be amazing!
Leave a voice mail message for someone expressing your thanks for their work. Try after hours to leave a voice mail message expressing your appreciation for the work an employee has done. It may surprise you how long people keep these messages and replay them.
Write a well written thank-you card or note to recognize people each day. If you write one card or note a day to any employee in the organization who has affected you, you will make a tremendous difference. Those cards become keepers, and people often reread them.
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.
recognition is not hard to do. But recognizing those you meet and work with
should not be treated so glibly that it is thoughtlessly done.
The words you
use to verbally express your appreciation or use in your written or digital
thank you notes, need to be done with care and consideration. Put more time
into thinking about what you will say and realize the impact it will have on
following ideas closely to pick up on ways your vocabulary choice and phrasing
of recognition could change.