September 12, 2023 is National Day of Encouragement
…”This day is dedicated to uplifting people around us and making a positive impact.”
Encouraging someone can be risky. It’s not simply about vocalizing a perfunctory phrase, but rather considering factors such as the recipient’s state of mind, timing, and the relationship. What do I mean?
Well, if the recipient just lost a job, is worried about bills, the no-refund vacation rental, or how long it has been since they last interviewed, they won’t want hear, “You’re so talented…you’ll get another job in no time.” no matter how well-intentioned it is.”
I’m not negating these “words of encouragement.” But, you can bet they don’t feel talented, if they just got laid off? Especially, if the field they’re in, is in decline everywhere.
Timing and their state of mind?
Timing can often dictate if they’re ready to receive. Did they just get the news? Have they gone on tons of interviews, with no call-backs? Were they next in line for a promotion? Did they just buy a house? Did their child just start college? If so, they are going to be in a more desperate state of mind. Hearing, “Their loss…You’re too good for that company…There’s something better out there…” may not be received as encouragement, but just unhelpful, mundane and predictable utterances.
What is the relationship?
The level of familiarity between the encourager and the recipient has an influence on how the encouragement is received. Encouragement from someone whom you are close tends to have a stronger impact compared to encouragement received from someone who is less connected to you.
For the recipient. It’s understandable that you may not want to hear even the most well-intentioned words of encouragement from anyone. However, once you’ve received them, presume that they are genuine and out of concern, and simply say, “Thank you.”
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8 Etiquette Tips For Encouraging Someone: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of encouraging someone. It’s important to tailor your words and actions to that person, not how we’d like to receive it.
- Gauge whether the person is open to receiving encouragement at that moment. Are they tired? Have they heard it all from others? Do they appear meditative?
- Tailor your words to the individual’s situation. Are they pragmatic? Are they generally private? Or are they emotionally demonstrative?
- Sometimes, encouragement can be as simple as surprising them with a cup of their favorite morning beverage, an invitation to take a walk, or a light touch* and a smile. (*Be sure they’re comfortable with a friendly, warm touch)
- Avoid bringing up the recent incident every time you see them. Leave it up to them. And then, just listen.
- Respect their boundaries. Offering ideas or connections can be a practical form of encouragement. Don’t be surprised if they aren’t open to receiving them right away.
- Be mindful of body language and touch, yours and theirs. Watch for non-verbal cues such as eye contact, posture, and personal space. Are they ready to disengage? Do they need a hug?
- Avoid comparisons. Diving into how it was for you or a friend of yours, takes away the focus of their circumstances, potentially diminishing or implying how they should be feeling.
- Avoid discussing their circumstances with others. It isn’t your crisis to share. Before they know it, they’ll be receiving advice from strangers and distant acquaintances.
Let’s contribute to building a more courteous and respectful society for everyone to enjoy. Courtesy costs nothing but has the power to make the world a better place, starting in our circle of friends and family, and our workplace.
Nationally recognized etiquette expert with over twenty years of providing trainings, and serving as a source for media.
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© 2023 Rosalinda Oropeza Randall
Note: Tips and advice are provided as options to consider, not immovable one-size-fits-all solutions. There are always many things to consider when handling situations, whether in the workplace or in your personal life.
© 2023, Rosalinda Oropeza Randall. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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