The Right Way to Give Praise

Praise a child for being smart and you give her a self-concept that can be ruined by her B-minus. From that moment on, she may choose to play it safe, lest she lose her precious identity as a smartie.

But praise her for effort, and in spite of failure, she is likely to persist, since effort is what she gets praised for.

Don’t praise for intelligence or talent. Praise for effort , since it leads to a self-concept that says, “I don’t give up. A mistake is just a step on the path of growth.”

Do the same thing for yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for trying…for tackling a new skill…and for getting a little bit better, growing a little bit more as a speaker.

You can also hire a coach to help you tease out the areas where you’re gaining ground and the areas where you still need to make changes. This type of feedback process will help you get to where you want to go faster, and you’ll be more accomplished when you get there–because it’s hard to know what you don’t know.

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