Top 5 tips to improve your appreciation skills

by Betty Lochner on March 7, 2012

Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.  – Voltaire

Kauai flower

Appreciation is a Powerful Communication Tool

You may not think of practicing appreciation as an obvious communication skill but it’s been studied and proven that adding purposeful appreciation and gratitude towards others on a regular basis can be one of the most powerful communication skills you can hone.

The bottom line is this: everyone has a real need to feel appreciated. It makes us feel valued and connected. When we feel genuinely valued and appreciated, we will connect and respond better, even perform better.

Appreciate and recognize the people around you.

Appreciation is a simple communication skill that brings amazing results in building and improving relationships.  If you aren’t doing it already, start adding appreciation to your daily routine.

First, pay attention to those that are doing good things around you and encourage them. Be accessible when they need you.  And, most important, thank them for what they do for you.

We often underestimate how very powerful the small things are. Here are my top 5 tips to improve your appreciation skills:

1) Be mindful of what is going on around you and be “present” in the moment.
Be open and receptive to giving and receiving appreciation and recognition. Pay attention and catch people doing good things.
2) Focus on individual accomplishment.
It’s much more powerful than acknowledging a group. At staff meetings, when someone has done a good job, acknowledge them in front of their peers. At home, announce how pleased you are with your child in front of their friends, or your husband in front of the kids.
3) Be as specific as possible.
When you offer appreciation, describe the impact of what was done. Most people like to hear “you did a good job.” However, adding a comment on the difference they made can make the appreciation impact even greater.  Don’t just say you appreciate someone, give a specific example: “I appreciate you tracking me down for a phone call when I wandered away.”  or “You did a good job of putting your clothes away today.”  or “Dave, I appreciate you for taking the lead on that research. It’s really making a difference in the quality of the report.”
4) When you see it, say it.
Give the recognition as soon as possible after you see something to appreciate. Timeliness is important, so don’t wait!
5) Be sincere.
Don’t even try to fake it. People will quickly catch on to you and the impact will be null (it could even make the situation worse).

Who and what have you not fully appreciated?
List all the people and things in your life for which you are grateful. In some special way, say “thank you” and show your appreciation to the people who mean the most to you.

Visit your list often and you will find that appreciating others is good for you, too!


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for Betty Lochnertransforming your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit:

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