It’s a concept we’re all familiar with.
We like giving it and we like getting it.
But why does it work so well when it’s shared between two people? And how do we make sure we land our encouragements in the best possible way?
In essence, encouragement is an expression of affirmation and it has the power to instil courage. Here are 4 essential things to know when sharing encouragement.
1. Be personal
Encouragement communicates a positive message about the recipient, it highlights a strength or attribute that we can see in them.
“You are so brave to be taking this on.”
“I’ve seen you rise to this kind of challenge before.”
“I’m so inspired when I see you trying so hard to make this happen.”
2. Make it focused
Encouragement ties into specific actions or behaviours, eg:
“You show such determination when you run onto the court.”
“I remember last time you had a job interview you totally blew them away.”
3. Be specific
Encouragement is always a feel-good type of exchange, but rather than being general it can be much more powerful when it notes a specific situation. It shows that we’re paying attention and are offering our words targeting a particular personal challenge.
“I bet you’re pumped for this weekend’s marathon, you’re going to be awesome.”
“Another exam today sweetheart? Just give it your best shot, I know you’ll do great.”
“I know you’re a bit worried about the performance review this week. I believe in you.”
The fact that we recognise when a friend or colleague needs encouragement is a bit of a gift in and of itself. Not everyone likes to ask, but if we’re paying attention then we might notice they are struggling with something or would welcome a morale boost.
When has encouragement made a difference to you? Who was it from and what words did they use?
Who can you encourage today?