ABC’s of Appreciation

Close-up of four business executives standing in a line and applaudingBy Angella Bernal I’m inundated with people telling me to “practice gratitude.” I hear it while watching talk shows, twisting myself into a pretzel at yoga, and reading shared articles on Facebook. What am I grateful for? I’m grateful for a lot of things; my family, my job, my neighbors, etc. Will it make my life better to be grateful for them? It will, according to more than 26 scientific studies.

Do you want to live longer, make better decisions and increase your self-esteem? If that isn’t motivating, would you rather lose sleep, stay in your pity party, and continue feeling like you’re in a rut? Gratitude and appreciation can affect these things and 25 other physical, social and emotional parts of your life.

In Learn iT’s live and online Communication classes, we teach how to give appreciation in 3 easy steps. The ABC’s of Appreciation: find what you Admire, Back it up with evidence and Come up with a question to engage.

A – What do I admire? This is a trait, strength or accomplishment that I see in someone and want to encourage and recognize.

B – Back it up with evidence. When did I witness this happening, or how could I describe it to them.

C – Come up with a question to engage the person such as, “Where did you learn that?” or “Have you always been that way?” We recommend a question to avoid the awkwardness that can occur when someone doesn’t know how to take a compliment. So instead, give them a question to answer. (If you haven’t learned to take a compliment, here is a good resource on how to take a compliment as well as 10 Life Skills to keep in mind.)

Let’s try it out! At the beginning of this article I said I was grateful for my job. More specifically, I admire many coworkers because of their hard work and attention to detail.

Coworker #1

A – What do I admire? I admire my coworker’s hard work and attention to detail.

B – Back it up with evidence. During a conference call, my coworker provided me with notes detailing the call and reminding me of important details for the client.

C – Come up with a question to engage. What do you listen for during conference calls?

I could say: “Thank you for your hard work and attention to detail. During the conference call today, you provided me notes that kept track of what was important to the client. I like being on calls with you because you make it so easy. What are you listening for during the calls?”


Coworker #2

“Thank you for your hard work and attention to detail. I appreciate you catching typos and grammar errors in the materials, blogs and slide decks. It keeps us looking professional and precise. Do you enjoy that part of your work?”

Here’s how I created this statement.

A – What do I admire? I admire my coworker’s hard work and attention to detail.

B – Back it up with evidence. I appreciate that you catch my typos and grammar errors before we make the materials public to clients.

C – Come up with a question to engage. Do you enjoy that part of your work?

If you are a manager, giving employee praise is an essential skill and is best when it’s specific, timely, and sincere. The ABC’s of Appreciation demonstrate how to be specific with praise. Give praise as close to the incident as possible in order to make it timely. To be sincere means to act authentically with what and how you give your appreciation. Managerial and supervisor skills are available in our Successful Supervision and live online learning classes.

Now that the ABC’s of Appreciation have been spelled out, try this model for self-appreciation:

A – What do I admire? What do you/I admire/appreciate about me?

B – Back it up with evidence. What evidence shows that I act this way?

C – Come up with a question to engage. Where did I learn that and who can I thank?

The question to engage may spark the appreciation you want to give to the people in your life.  Ready, Set, Appreciate!


Angella Bernal pic

Angella Bernal is a Professional Development instructor at Learn iT!. She believes that students learn best through the practical application of technology applied to real-life situations. She achieves this by allowing student questions to guide the class to areas relevant to their environment, thus allowing for the quickest and easiest adaptation of new technology and skills.