The Power of Positive Reinforcement! (What makes people smile?)

The Power of Positive Reinforcement! (What makes people smile?)

– How often do I get a compliment? –

– How often do I give a compliment? –

These two questions came to my mind after visiting one of the Regional Managers of a client.

I observed his sales meeting, and I asked him if he wanted to have my feedback. The first thing he said to me was, “Yes, please. Tell me what I did wrong.” I didn’t react to that, and I started the way I always do, by giving him a compliment based on what I had observed.

The expression on his face went from a serious, waiting-to-hear-what-went-wrong expression to a very big smile. When I asked him why he was smiling, he said, “I didn’t expect to get a compliment. I don’t get many compliments.”

Positive reinforcement is a key motivator and costs nothing to implement. But even more important, with positive reinforcement you show you care!

What makes positive reinforcement more effective? REDR:


Elaborate with



Base your compliments on facts.

Back to the questions I started with, here is my honest answer:

– How often do I get a compliment? –

– Never often enough –

– How often do I give a compliment? –

– Not yet enough, but more and more, because I care! –

What about you?

Brenda Schäfer is a Results Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


  1. Excellent post Brenda. Positive appreciations can bring miracles in Results and Behaviors. Thank you for sharing.

    • Brenda Schäfer 12 years ago

      Thanks Tariq! You are so right. The question is why don’t we do it more often.

  2. In my opinion the solution is cultural change and practicing same repeatedly so it becomes a a habit.

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