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7 Tips to Make Other People Feel Smart

When you care about your colleagues, you want them to feel good about themselves. Making them feel smart is one of the nicest compliments of all. In a post at her website, bestselling author Gretchen Rubin shares seven small tips to accomplish this.

First, do not be afraid to take notes while people are talking; it means they are noteworthy! Likewise, reference back to previous points that people have made during a conversation, to show you were really paying attention and are invested in their line of thought. And ask them to finish a thought if you realize the conversation has gone off course.

If someone has done something impressive, call him or her out on it in just a couple words, like, “You really took the initiative with this project!” And if you want to take a slightly more ego-stroking approach, you can pepper the person’s name around in conversation with him or her. Why? Because people just like to hear their own name (as long as it does not come across as blatantly smarmy).

Lastly, if you want to make someone feel smart, ask that person for advice—and then actually take the advice. If the advice is good, it shows that person really is smart. And if the advice is bad… well, nobody is brilliant at everything.

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