Human Connection with Just Two Words

by | Mar 27, 2019


What would your response be if someone came up to you and paid you a genuine compliment? Or gave you some acknowledgement about some amazing impact that you had on their lives? What would you say? Perhaps it’s a, “No problem, happy to help.” Maybe you’d say, “Hey I’m just doing my job.” Maybe even rationalize and say, “Hey, well, I was okay…but I can do much about her next time… you haven’t seen anything yet.” 

What I want to talk about today is the opportunity that we have to switch up these responses, and in doing so, create an amazing opportunity for connection. 

Now I learned this the hard way by responding with a combination of all of those answers a few months ago. Yeah, a few months ago, and it’s a lesson that I’m still learning. The perspective that this moment, a few months ago, gave me is the perspective that I want to share with you today. 

A lot of times we have our knee-jerk reactions for this. Maybe we say “no problem” out of habit. Maybe we don’t like public recognition. Maybe we do think we can do better. But when our response is anything less than the two words I’m about to share with you, we are missing the opportunity for connection. 

It was one evening and after one of my programs, a woman came up to me. She was excited to share what she had learned and she had this look of joy and excitement on her face. Well, I resisted her praise, and by the time we were done talking, she walked away looking confused and disappointed. Later in my hotel room, I thought, “I wonder what happened to that lady?” I realized I had happened to that lady. And then I realized, “Well Erin, it’s because you were in your head.” 

This is where I want to shift that perspective. When someone gives us praise or offers us a compliment, what I realized was it’s not so much about what we are experiencing, it’s about what they experienced and why they are telling us. When you think about it this way, you think that they are sharing, “Hey you had a great impact on me…” “Hey, you knocked that report out of the park…” “Hey, you did this amazingly…” What they are giving you is a gift. What do you do when someone gives you a gift (I don’t care if it’s a horrible gift!)? What two words do you say? 

“Thank you.” 

There is the opportunity and there is the response for connection. When someone gives us a compliment our immediate, and only, response should be a genuine “thank you” because in that moment, when we say “thank you,” we are acknowledging their experience. We’ve given them something and in return, they’re giving us something. So the natural response: thank you! It’s an easy lesson but one that I am continuing to learn. What I would love for you to do is, as you go forth, think about what is your response when someone gives you some positive feedback or pays you a compliment. Notice what your go-to is. Then I want you to pause and respond simply with a genuine “thank you.” Take notice. See how it feels and see what the reaction is and the other person. 

I am on my mission to help people show up, engage, and connect and I look forward to connecting with you soon! 


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