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Networking tip 6: Congratulate and compliment

Most of us mean well when it comes to praise and encouragement, but we often don’t follow through. Are you shy about such things, or afraid of coming across as a flatterer? Grit your teeth and do it anyway! When you hear something positive about someone, make a real effort to congratulate the person, no matter how long ago you may have had contact or how tenuous a relationship you might have had in the past.  (“I don’t know whether I mentioned it or not, but Harriet just raved about your presentation at the European conference. We all got fed up with hearing about it!”) Congratulating or complimenting someone makes that person feel special, and represents the single easiest way to establish—or improve—rapport. (How would you feel, if it were you?)

As an example, while I was still practicing law, I was mentioned one day in the cover story of a legal journal. A consultant I’d worked with a decade before sent me a copy with a congratulatory note. I felt so pleased that he’d remembered me and taken the time and trouble to acknowledge my accomplishment! Thanks to this friendly gesture, we reconnected, and I’ve since gone out of my way to provide him with beneficial contacts.   

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