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Andrew Delany
Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker
Bothell, Washington
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Crafting A Biznik Compliment - The Most Gentle of Arts

What makes for a great compliment, and what makes for a less than great compliment on your Biznik site...a few simple reminders can make all the difference in the world!

Written Jun 09, 2008, read 2416 times since then.


Did you ever receive a compliment or want to give one on Biznik? Tricky stuff, sometimes. How could that be?

We all want to be appreciated, is this not true? And yet, it can be ever so awkward and embarrassing to get a compliment you feel is an ill fit on your Biznik site. 

Imagine the following: “Harry, Hi! This is Andrew…you know, that compliment you just gave me, um, well…could you take a minute and REWRITE IT for me? I mean, I don’t want to appear ungrateful or anything, but you got a couple of words misspelled (minor error), you used a word that has strange syntax for my professional reputation (medium error), and…well, your writing style just kind of flat-lined for me… (max error, man overboard!) Would you be terribly offended if I didn’t use it?” 

“Ungrateful Andrew, there he goes again…” A Biznik nightmare, right? Have we all been there yet? If not, let’s just wait, then one day, you will remember this piece and laugh. You have just entered Dangerous Feedback Loop!

What else could go wrong, here in delicate “PC” land? Maybe someone is verbose, overly fond of words … they are gushing on you and do not know when to stop. Maybe someone just read the other compliments you received and decided to upchuck those back on your site, showing no creative thought whatsoever! 

I mean the capacity to offend these days is off the charts…and, like passing bad air in a descending elevator, no one can easily discuss what is wrong and how to get it right, unless they are a major league master of diplomacy! So, let’s appreciate the obvious: someone likes you and wants to share your resource and reputation of excellence with the world. Hurray! What could be more of an unasked blessing! 

Furthermore, someone actually appreciates what you do and now has a permanent capacity to help market you to the world. Unique marketing research is being done here: other people’s words and perceptions can be gleaned and forever used to enhance knowledge of whatever it is you do. This compliment is a win for you, a win for the giver, and a win for all future potential clients of yours, if done right! 

Allow me to offer some helpful hints here. Please use spell check! This saves much hassle. But unbelievably, many people don’t. This might require you to first write your compliment out using Microsoft Word or a comparable Mac program. 

Secondly, try to incorporate three adjectives that blend together, because two adjectives can often seem flat. “Susie coached me and did a really nice job” is only one compliment, mixed with a fact.

If it is difficult for you to find three unique things to say about so and so, try evaluating: 

1. Their service (wonderful job washing my windows).

2. Their application of their service (timely, efficient, thorough).

3. Their personality or energy working with you (incredibly supportive, wise, insightful). 

In this way three things can easily come forth without seeming contrived or overstated. This is from writing editors I consult with, who also suggest that four or more items just begin to feel heavy, like a laundry list. Two things seem plain, almost unmerited. And yet, keep it short, like a minimal trace of a footprint. In this way you may inspire your recipient of praise rather than live in eternal curiosity as to why your generously given compliment is not being used. 

Let’s weed out the obligatory “tit-for-tat” compliments and those with any shred of false praise. These things may not be obvious to you, but they can smoke with energy when others peruse the compliment gallery. 

Also, don’t write your compliment when you are feeling overworked, tired, or pressed for time. This may make you mistake prone. 

When you have created what you believe to be a good piece to share about someone, read it to one of your more literate friends and see if they like it. This is like using “Spell Check for Content and Flow” to polish and make perfect the final product before delivery.  

And while you are at it, why not give the compliment receiver a heads-up with a Biznik message and graciously offer to work with them if your comment does not “hit the mark”? 

Remember, don’t steal from the people who have written praise before you, because frankly, it shows! While it may be true that your compliment is original but sounds like a piggyback on someone else's 'love-on', consider enriching your bandwidth of perceptions with a thesaurus. These can be delightfully helpful in short order! 

An appreciative, unique thought, well delivered, is a gift that is priceless in potential. Why not make its execution zesty, creative, and worthy of your utmost caring nature? Don’t forget, you are also (via Google) globally marketing yourself with these words! 

Have I forgotten anything? You, my fine, insightful and shrewd readers, will certainly let me know, right!




Learn more about the author, Andrew Delany.

Comment on this article

  • Trainer and Coach 
Foxboro, Massachusetts 
Jen Vondenbrink
    Posted by Jen Vondenbrink, Foxboro, Massachusetts | Jun 10, 2008

    Hi Andrew - This is very helpful advice. I love the three simple steps. In these days of online networking, they are so needed. I will be using your ideas going forward. Thanks!

    Jen Vondenbrink - Life Simplified

  • author, book artist 
Seattle, Washington 
Leila Anasazi
    Posted by Leila Anasazi, Seattle, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Your article is so nicely crafted that I want to worm my way onto your good side and get me a compliment from you!

  • local search optimization, author, editor, publisher 
Bainbridge Island, Washington 
Shannon Evans
    Posted by Shannon Evans, Bainbridge Island, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Well said! Your pearls of wisdom are right on the mark as usual. Shannon Evans

  • Spiritual Advisor 
Woodinville, Washington 
Patrick McNamara
    Posted by Patrick McNamara, Woodinville, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    In this fast paced world, it's great to get advice that helps us slow down and smell the … … compliments and articles! Thanks for sharing your insights which encourage us to take time to really think about what an important heartfelt gift a compliment can mean to a person and hence, the world.

  • Accredited Staging Professional 
Seattle, Washington 
Susan Gold
    Posted by Susan Gold , Seattle, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Is a comment to be as well crafted as a compliment? Oh, the pressure. I was going to comment earlier and then began to think about thinking about it some more. I'm now thoroughly stressed out with the performance factor in crafting a succinct reply. Seriously, you continue to be one of the most articulate people I have had the pleasure of meeting through this site (oh no, did I just offend everyone else I met?) Seriously, well done, it was a beautiful, well crafted and much needed article (was that too much?)

  • Energetic Speaking Coach for Entrepreneurs & NPOs 
Bellevue, Washington 
Pamela Ziemann
    Posted by Pamela Ziemann, Bellevue, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    A survey I reviewed noted that the more specific the compliment and the more peers who hear it, the more powerful and meaningful it is. What a fabulous resource we have with the Biznik website and our fellow biznikers!

    Thank you for sharing Andrew.

    • Pamela
  • Mortgage Consultant 
Mill Creek, Washington 
Tonya Kirkland
    Posted by Tonya Kirkland, Mill Creek, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    You are going to make me go back and change my compliment :)

  • Intuitive Coach: For Business and Personal 
Seattle, Washington 
Banu Sekendur
    Posted by Banu Sekendur, Seattle, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Very timely article Andrew. It was much needed! :)

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Good advice, Andrew. I agree with you that, as with testimonials, the more specific the comments, the better.

    We've all heard the "This person was great," "That person does good work" and we really can't get a picture of that, can we?

    I'd love to see Andrew's article spark a flurry of compliments. You, know, the ones you've been meaning to write and just haven't gotten around to it?

    I wrote two last week, but I am sure that I've admired more than two people on biznik. You've inspired me to get the rest written, Andrew.

  • Whidbey Island Real Estate  
Coupeville, Washington 
Janet Burchfield
    Posted by Janet Burchfield, Coupeville, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Thank you, Andrew!

    As a biznik newbie, I had furrowed my brow momentarily when a compliment I'd dashed off with enthusiasm was returned with some edits.

    Since I was simply wanting to let others know how fabulous this fellow is, I was happy to oblige his request.

    Wish I'd had your article a week ago, but am grateful to have it today!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom... Janet

  • Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker 
Bothell, Washington 
Andrew Delany
    Posted by Andrew Delany, Bothell, Washington | Jun 10, 2008

    Wow! Such wonderful words from everyone! I am deeply appreciative to all. There are endless nuances to this conversation, and I hope we all keep it going and grow together!


  • Health & Life Insurance Broker 
Auburn, Washington 
Ron Copple, RHU, LUTCF
    Posted by Ron Copple, RHU, LUTCF, Auburn, Washington | Jun 11, 2008

    Andrew, your article is very insightful and timely. Many people who wish to criticize, usually do it with specifics in mind. Making the compliments specific sometimes is rare, but very important and you hit it right on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie, Teacher and Performer of Improv 
Santa Cruz, California 
Carol Skolnick
    Posted by Carol Skolnick, Santa Cruz, California | Jun 12, 2008

    What a great method to apply in life too. "What are three specific things I appreciate about _____?" (My partner, my kid, the next-door neighbor.) I've done this for years and it's amazing how many wonderful qualities we all have, even my next-door neighbor. :)

  • Creative Clarity Coach 
Bainbridge Island, Washington 
Jennifer Manlowe
    Posted by Jennifer Manlowe, Bainbridge Island, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks Andrew. Your laser-focus on this electronically-written, communication vehicle is fascinating on so many levels. I have a compliment acronym that I learned when I attended seminary 20 years ago...I know, I know, long story best told over rock-salty Margaritas! Anyway here goes: Before you offer an electronically-written/online compliment, "THINK!" is it (T)houghtful, (H)onest, (I)ntelligent, (N)ecessary, (K)ind? If not, keep it to yourself.

    P.S. Like Susan, after reading this article, I too wondered if there was a unique Biznik section for compliments somewhere; comments aren't always compliments AND yet.... the "THINK" acronym works for comments too, don't you think?

    Jennifer --> That gal who can tell you "what's next"

  • Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker 
Bothell, Washington 
Andrew Delany
    Posted by Andrew Delany, Bothell, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Yes, Jennifer, I definitely 'think' so! Thank you for sharing. It is amazing what doesn't leak easily to everyone easliy from seminaries!



  • Italy expert 
Issaquah, Washington 
Paula Russell
    Posted by Paula Russell, Issaquah, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks, Andrew, for the thoughtful, practical, and gentle reminder of how best to show appreciation. We all want to do the right thing, but it's not always easy to know just what to do. Your tips are a valuable resource.

  • none 
none, Washington 
none none
    Posted by none none, none, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Thank you, Andrew for this insightful sharing. Each day I learn something or re-learn something. You've helped with today's growth spurt.

  • Activator Methods Chiropractic Care in Everett WA 
Everett, Washington 
Dennis Dilday, D.C.
    Posted by Dennis Dilday, D.C., Everett, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Andrew - thanks. The three adjectives guideline will be helpful all around I'm sure.

    While too many rules can intimidate (Susan's comments are real for some people), a balance is best.

    Compliments AND comments are often spontaneous and the spirit might be lost or the impulse to write might fade if too much thought had to be put into it. So in a community as open as Biznik there is always going to be opportunities for us to exercise our tolerance and acceptance muscles. (And, it's a good thing we can reject for edit some compliments:-)


  • Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker 
Bothell, Washington 
Andrew Delany
    Posted by Andrew Delany, Bothell, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Right on, Dennis! May God postpone the day we all have to comment or compliment by rules. I don't think Indies would settle for this, way too free a body of people. Andrew

  • Activator Methods Chiropractic Care in Everett WA 
Everett, Washington 
Dennis Dilday, D.C.
    Posted by Dennis Dilday, D.C., Everett, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    And... we don't want Biznik to be any more skewed than it already is toward writers, marketers and power web users, since they are such a tiny fraction of "Indies."

    One of the great things I loved about being able to join Biznik and get all it's benefits is knowing that I was leap-frogging over several generations of technology to get to leading edge networking functionality and capacity. And I was doing it with minimal knowledge or experience in the web, blog, internet environment. Once in, I was able to use the resources within Biznik to advance myself in almost every direction. There are few opportunities for a person to leverage time, money and energy in the pursuit of business success that can match Biznik.

    In the same way that some people use Tai chi or Yoga to maximize all the potential benefits of a primarily physical activity, Biznik is a way to maximize the benefits of a primarily networking activity.

  • Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker 
Bothell, Washington 
Andrew Delany
    Posted by Andrew Delany, Bothell, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    It is always good for people to reiterate in the group posts what value Biznik has to them, because it's a short form tutorial as to how to best use the service for the rest of us turtles, as I would call myself in the techie/virtual world!


  • Activator Methods Chiropractic Care in Everett WA 
Everett, Washington 
Dennis Dilday, D.C.
    Posted by Dennis Dilday, D.C., Everett, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Yep, there are as many ways to teach as there are to learn... (Turtles being a symbol of longevity, I think that's an apt choice:-)


  • Denver / Boulder Technical Recruiter (IT Recruiting) 
Denver, Colorado 
Michelle Fox
    Posted by Michelle Fox, Denver, Colorado | Jun 12, 2008

    Thanks for the article, Andrew!

    I just have to share my "worst compliment" story - maybe this'll bring a laugh to someone's day.

    I was acting as a project manager on a particular project and had hired an engineer in South Asia to do a very small piece of work for me.

    At the end of the project, he posted a "compliment" for me on another networking site. I wish I still had the compliment to reprint here. It was a glowing compliment with only a few "minor issues:"

    1. He called me a "He!!" I had only interacted with him through email and I guess I hadn't felt it necessary to specifically state my gender! (This was the most embarrassing part for me, though admittedly a mistake anyone could make if not familiar with another culture's names) -- Thank you for the photo option, Biznik!

    2. He stated that he had hired me to do work for him when in fact it was the other way around!

    3. The wording was very awkward and completely unrelated to anything I had worked with him on.

    Needless to say, I didn't use it. Cultural differences, I guess! lol

  • Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker 
Bothell, Washington 
Andrew Delany
    Posted by Andrew Delany, Bothell, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Thank you, Michelle. Oh, please, let's share some more "Worst Compliments I have received" humor!


  • Certifed Rolfer 
Portland, Oregon 
Karin Edwards Wagner
    Posted by Karin Edwards Wagner, Portland, Oregon | Jun 12, 2008

    Best compliment I have ever received regarding my work as a Rolfer: "Not only does my neck feel better but my spirits were lifted too. That was the big shift I was looking for."

    Simple, direct, personal, and also reflects the physical/metaphysical potential of the work.

    Kurt passed away about 6 months after writing those graceful words - I remember him kindly whenever I use his quote.

  • Massage Therapist,  Energy Worker, Bio-Synergetix 
Seattle, Washington 
Patricia Taran
    Posted by Patricia Taran, Seattle, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    We've never met but I certainly will make it my Bizness to have that take place sooner than later.

    Thank you for talking about a subject that can be most difficult and for sharing and releiving me of some guilty misgivings...whew!

    We can all use a reminder to be thoughtful, caring and compassionate when giving the gift of a compliment, not unlike buying a gift for another. "Will they like it?"

    Your article was a gift for me so thank you again

  • Seattle printing, mailing, marketing solutions 
Kirkland, Washington 
David Berkey
    Posted by David Berkey, Kirkland, Washington | Jun 12, 2008

    Hey! Everyone's said all those great (1), fabulous (2), complimentary (3) statements about you, I'm now speechless. ;-)

    You write like you talk, with humor, being articulate, observant and poignant. For those Biznik's who have not had the pleasure of going to an event with Andrew, you're missing something. I might add that I've had the pleasure of drinking and eating with Andrew at several events. Always a pleasure.

  • zzzzz 
Washington, D.C. 
zzzzz zzzzz
    Posted by zzzzz zzzzz, Washington, D.C. | Jun 17, 2008


    You speak words of great significance to individuals new at effectively managing their time to capture the far more important, little things that should not be taken for granted.

    You made my day through this gentle and heart-felt reminder of traits I have enjoyed as a professional over many years yet inadvertently had tossed into the dark and secret confines of a dingy closet.

    Perfect timing, Andrew, on your part.....very well stated!

  • Personal Coach, Life Exfoliator, Public Speaker 
Bothell, Washington 
Andrew Delany
    Posted by Andrew Delany, Bothell, Washington | Jun 17, 2008

    Thank you Kathy! It is funny how we forget little things only to open them up again with renewed meaning, much later in life! And yet, a heartfelt thank you reqires no formula, no guideline, and no rule, in an ideal world! Best,