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I really like compliments. I love getting them, of course. I want them all day long, about everything; one year I even asked for them for my birthday. (I'd do it again if I didn't hate drawing attention to my aging!) But I also really like giving them. They cost nothing and they make people really happy if you do them right, so they make lovely little gestures of esteem that can really change someone's day. It's amazing how such a small, easy thing can have such a great effect.

I think I'm pretty good at giving them, too. The trick, I find, is to make them specific. Don't just say general nice things, like, "Good job." Take the time to notice particular things that are well done or worthy of appreciation about the person. When I come up to a person after seeing them in a show, I don't like to say, "You were great!" I like to say, "I loved the expression on your face in that one moment," or "My favorite part was the way you interacted with your scene partner in [scene]." Or if somebody wrote something, I mention "I loved the way you phrased that," or "That characterization really rang true to me."

It shows that you were really paying attention and put some thought into what they did. Because if your interest was captured enough to notice particularities, it speaks to meaning and significance of their efforts. And it's harder to fake-- anybody can say you did a good job even if they didn't even pay attention to it, but mentioning the quality of specifics is something that required you actually focusing on it and caring about it. For people who aren't confident and inclined to worry that people are just being kind rather than voicing genuine approval, it helps reassure them that the compliment is sincere. I find even people without that problem people enjoy getting that kind of compliment the most, so I try hard to find particulars I enjoy in order to make the ways they excel are really appreciated.


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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2016 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yes. Specificity is definitely the key.
Oct. 26th, 2016 04:44 pm (UTC)
Heh. My topic of study right now is Feedback (in the context of teaching) and specificity is definitely one of those best practices. Just didn't expect it to come up in LJ....
Oct. 26th, 2016 05:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, now that you mention it, it helps in any kind of feedback! I am drowning in grading with my classes this semester, and the biggest challenge of it is giving critique specific enough for students to know how to address.
Oct. 27th, 2016 08:07 pm (UTC)
It's also key to directing (which is similar to, but different from teaching). With new directors I tell them that feedback should go like this:

1. Great job. That's really coming along.
2. Here's what you did that I especially liked.
3. Here's what I'd like you to change.
4. Here's what we're going to work on.
5. Great job. This is going to be a great show.
Oct. 29th, 2016 04:32 pm (UTC)
i thrive off compliments and praise. yes yes i know i'm great but i want non stop external validation. it keeps me going. :)

ps you're pretty great ;-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

Latest Month

April 2017


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