I was reminded of a communication phenomena this weekend that I have realized for a few years but need work on applying.
I attended the Prince George component of the Great Canadian Ultimate Game,
a Ultimate Frisbee game that in 2015 was played in 31 Canadian communities and 3 international communities over 34 consecutive hours. I was the organizer for my community. Not surprisingly, after the match, folks thanked me for organizing the activity because it is a interesting event to be a part of and because they recognized that they would’t have been able to participate that evening unless someone stepped up and did the work to make it so.
As I have been organizing this same event for the last 5 years, I have got it down pat and don’t consider it a tremendous amount of work or significantly difficult to put together. Therefore, when folks started to give me kudos, I responded with “I didn’t do much.” or “It’s hardly anything.” This might seem perfectly reasonable and authentic; however, I’ve discovered it’s not what people want to hear.
When people offer praise, they don’t want to be told that there is nothing really to be complemented about. They are giving you a gift and they are expecting you to receive that gift and when you do, they get a psychological boost. It feels good to give a complement well received.
Therefore, my challenge will be to do a better job of letting appreciation land when I am fortunate enough to generate it. It’s not always about me.
Have you ever experience this dynamic before? What do you think about it and do you have any thoughts on how to best receive a complement gifted your way?