Make Flattery Part of Your Communication Skills
Here's a dirty little secret that falls under the heading of communication skills: Flattery actually does work. It is effective. Saying nice things to people is a really good way to build relationships (it's not the only way, but it is a helpful tool). Great sales people know this. They make flattery part of their communication skills as they know it helps you sell stuff. Great presenters know this. They use flattery as one of their communication skills to help win over audiences. You should make flattery part of your communication skills, too.
But there is a fine between flattery that is effective and flattery that is just seemingly insincere and suck-uppy. Here's how you do flattery right. If you just go in and say, "Oh my gosh. You just are awesome. Everything is just so amazing. You're just, wow, I don't know how you're so good." Okay, that's kind of insincere, that’s not really using your communication skills. But what does work well is when you pick some specific behavior, something very specific, and you compliment that particular thing. That’s when it becomes part of your communication skills.
So, instead of walking into your boss's office and saying, “You are just so smart. Oh my gosh. I kneel before you. You're just amazing." That's insincere, and suck-uppy. But if you go in and say, "Listen boss, I just wanted to say thank you. That feedback you gave me last week before I went into that presentation, wow. Because of what you told me, I rocked it in there. And the way you told me to put those data analysis at the beginning of presentation, they loved it."
Now, when you do that, you've complimented a very specific thing, and this doesn't feel insincere. You don't want to go around picking things that aren't really worth complimenting: "Oh, the way you just sat there all day yesterday, and didn't talk to me, that was great." No. Pick something where they actually did really good, and really helped you out so when you compliment that specific action it doesn't feel fluffy and abstract. Instead it feels very concrete. When you do that, people start to say, "Hey, this person really noticed what I did. I thought that was some pretty good feedback I gave them last week, and that's really cool that they noticed it. This person's pretty sharp." That's where flattery starts to become a very effective tool and a critical part of your communication skills.