How To Give A Mind-Blowing Compliment

The Three Simple Elements

Barry Davret


Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

He didn’t realize it, but he had given me the highest compliment I had received in years. What made it so great? He hit all three elements that you’ll learn about in this story.

He read some material I wrote for a book, and then he praised one sentence. That’s right. It was one sentence in an entire manuscript. Instead of telling me he loved everything I wrote, he went into great detail celebrating one line.

Earlier this year, I gave a memorable compliment to a car dealership. I’d gone there for service and received a survey a few days later. I remarked that they served excellent popcorn in their waiting area.

The service manager called me and thanked me for the note at the end of my survey. It turned out, the owner was a popcorn buff, and he took great pride in the quality of his popcorn. It meant more to him than any of the other service scores.

Both stories are examples of a well-crafted compliment. Everyone enjoys hearing praise about their abilities, their work or their qualities. The difference between a compliment that your recipient remembers and one she forgets is a matter of scale. This first rule will sound incongruous, but I will explain in detail.

The smallest, narrowest compliment elicits greater satisfaction for the recipient.

Element Number 1 — Go Narrow

It doesn’t take much skill to craft this sort of compliment. It does require a small amount of research and attention to detail.

Let’s pretend you want to send a compliment to your favorite podcaster. Look at the narrow compliment and compare it to its all-encompassing counterpart.

Yo, dude. Love your stuff. ALL OF IT. I mean it’s all awesome.

Mr. Smith. I just listened to podcast episode number sixty-eight. Your guest tried to duck the question on his failed economic policy. You successfully forced him into answering it without coming across as an overbearing bully. I’ve never seen or heard that technique executed with such perfection.



Barry Davret

Work in Forge | Elemental | BI | GMP | Others | Contact: barry@barry-davret dot com. Join Medium for full access: