When have you last felt special in your office? When have you last paid a compliment to somebody? Acknowledged a rare quality? Here is a powerful exercise:

Saying nice things to your partner, your children and other loved ones might be an easy task and even come naturally. What about your colleagues that share an office with you and have to stand all your moods, ups and downs and witness a lot about your life, your losses and wins? How to you treat them? What about your boss who tries to get the best out of you and with that I don’t just mean long and productive office hours? These people, the colleagues, the bosses, they are the ones who can turn your work reality to heaven or hell. So what about acknowledging that they are an important key to your daily life by telling them something nice?

Every Monday morning there is a huge human avalanche of people sitting in cars, buses, trains and even planes going to work in the quest of an encouragement, appraisal, or some sorts of acknowledgement, without explicitly being aware of this of course.

Why is it then so surprising that when I announce the last walking exercise at the end of a team training and call it “A special gift” that the initial reactions are often mixed. “Really, 90 seconds to tell my colleague what I like about him or her while ONLY one listens while the other one is talking”. After that first round it is the listener’s turn to talk and return the favour. After 3 minutes, partners are switched until all participants have had their talk. It is such a simple exercise but yet such a powerful one.

Why is paying compliments such a hard thing? Because we are so trained in finding the other one’s flaws, correcting their mistakes or finding solutions that we are obsessed about optimizing, rectifying and improving.

What has become of simply enjoying appraisal, listening to kind works, hearing a good old compliment and about feeling good just the way we are. Even the most reluctant participant usually succumbs to the charm of the exercise after the first round.

So next time you need to feel special in your office or want to make your work colleague feel good, no need to buy anything or go out of your way, simply give them 90 seconds of your day by offering them your full and genuine attention and telling them what you like or appreciate about them. This small gesture of appreciation is the one that will have a lasting impact on your working relationship. It will also put a smile on your face and we all know that a smile is the shortest distance between two human beings. ENJOY!

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