The Best Gift You Can Give To Boost Your Personal Brand: Appreciation
If you’ve ever heard of Dopamine, you’ll know that is some good sh*t.
Also known as the Reward and Pleasure Chemical, this neurotransmitter is released in your brain when you receive a reward or experience pleasure. (But you probably guessed that from the name.)
It also plays a role in increasing our ability to think, plan, focus and – the part that’s relevant for personal branding – find things interesting.
Because if you can increase the Dopamine in someone’s brain with your interactions, not only will they associate the resulting pleasurable feelings with you (creating a positive impression of your brand), you’ll also increase the chance they’ll find you interesting (ditto).
It ain’t got to be big
The good news is the size of the reward or amount of pleasure doesn’t have to be huge for the brain to produce Dopamine.
A study by neuroscientist Andrew Newberg found that something as simple as eating chocolate or seeing a smiling face can trigger Dopamine. (And if you hand someone a chocolate while smiling at them you’re definitely onto a winner.)
But if you’re looking for an even easier way to get those neurotransmitters firing, try giving the gift of appreciation.
Don’t just think it…say it
A simple way to show appreciation is to pay attention to your interactions with someone – tuning into what you’re thinking and how they’re making you feel (that way any appreciation you show will be genuine). Then, if your thoughts are positive, instead of keeping them to yourself, share them with the other person.
An example might be when a colleague you love working with rings you up. Instead of launching straight into the business stuff, you could kick off by saying, “I’m really happy you called,” and you could end the conversation by saying, “I’ve really enjoyed talking to you,” or “You always leave me with a smile on my face.”
Both phrases are little gifts of appreciation that can trigger the Dopamine.
Or if someone has made your life easier you could say, “You’ve been a great help,” or “You’ve saved me so much time and effort,” or “I don’t think I’d have managed that without you”.
Recognising their contribution is akin to giving a reward.
Or how about using the word ‘appreciate’ to show your appreciation: “I appreciate your time on this,” or “I appreciate you sharing your knowledge,” or “I appreciate the effort you’ve put in”?
You can deliver your gift in-person, on the phone, in an email – every interaction is a chance to drop in some appreciation. But just to reiterate: it has to be genuine. There’s no room for schmoozy sycophancy here.
Step it up a gear
If you really want to give your appreciation muscles a workout, don’t save your words until you’re already communicating – be proactive instead.
Someone who’s a master of this is my friend Janet who will go up to complete strangers and give them a heartfelt compliment. Like the pregnant woman who was out shopping with her mother, who Janet walked up to and said, “I love what you’re wearing.” (Apparently the mother turned to her daughter and said, “See! I’ve been telling you you look lovely!”, giving the daughter a huge confidence boost.)
What words or phrases do you use to show your appreciation? Or what are the things that, when you hear them from others, give you a Dopamine hit? (Mine’s when workshop delegates tell me they were entertained along with being educated – makes me feel fab!) The comment box is sitting below waiting for you to share your thoughts if you’re happy to!
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