Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Here are five ways to help you give and receive meaningful compliments that will lift the person you are complimenting as well as putting you in a positive mood. 

1. Be Specific

Detail is the heart of a great compliment. The fact that you have noticed something specific shows that you are attentive and engaged, you might even say mindful. Compliments that indicate you have paid attention or that the recipient has done something that has really made a difference will be much more valued.

2. Be Genuine

If you are specific with your compliment then you are well on the way to being genuine also. Forcing a compliment because you feel its expected will appear insincere. Meaning what you say and feeling compelled to give praise when it is due is exactly what drives a genuine and meaningful compliment.

3. Be Timely but don’t take too much time

Choosing to compliment a colleague about their appearance before they give a presentation may be out of context and could actually unsettle them rather than have a positive impact. Waiting too long to give praise can also diminish its effect.

4. Don’t expect anything in return

Say what you intend to, face-to-face is the best way to make sure it is heard, let it sink in and then move on. The recipient may say “thank you” but don’t wait around or repeat the compliment forcing a response.

5. Be Gracious

When you are on the receiving end of a compliment, the only way to accept it is graciously. Self-deprecation can make the giver feel silly or that they lack judgment in noticing something unworthy of praise. A meaningful compliment is to be enjoyed, take it in and experience the lift it can give. You are now in an even better position to give compliments yourself.