Learn the three Ps of a polished presenter.

Praise in Public


Most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, have a little voice inside that wants us to compliment a coworker at a party and say, “You did a great job,” or “I appreciate your help,” but we’re afraid of appearing foolish or saying something embarrassing. That’s normal. Then we watch a seemingly fearless facilitator stand up at the gathering and convey with conviction similar thoughts. We think to ourselves, “I could have said that.” Yes, that’s normal, too. Transform into that polished presenter by following the three Ps:preparepresent, and prevail.

To prevent flubbed lines, focus on how your coworker assisted you personally or professionally. Select one instance and summarize the situation, solution, and your satisfaction with the end result.

Pretend you’re in front of the party-goers and say your brief praise out loud. Tell it to your significant other – whether they are two or four legged – this minimal practice will calm most stomach squalls. Silly as it may seem, verbalizing your mini-speech, even to an audience of one will make a huge difference. When my wife’s unavailable then my cat plays second fiddle and listens to me practice (in between her naps and meals). 

One of the best times to premiere your praise is right after everyone has assembled and if at a restaurant after folks order their meals. Visualize success and present like you rehearsed.

For example, “My boss needed a chart created for a meeting in ten minutes and I didn’t know how to do it. Bob was able to show me in less than two minutes. I appreciate his help. Thanks, Bob.”

A perfect presentation or not, you will be admired for taking a risk and showing genuine gratitude. The next time you give a pat on the back it will become easier. Both you and the recipient will fill with pride.

I recently complimented a co-worker, “Your summary of the project was quite good. You presented a nice high-level overview, touched upon several key points, and concluded with next action steps. I found it very help and informative.” My associate felt good with the recognition and I was delighted with myself for boldly following through with my remark. Reminds me of a quote by the writer and editor Margaret Cousins, "Appreciation can make a day - even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary."

Far too often people’s achievements are overlooked or worse, expected. A few words of acknowledgement in front of your peers will boost everyone’s moral. Follow the three Ps of a polished presenter (prepare, present, prevail) and you’ll prosper at praising in public.

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