Accepting Praise Graciously: First, Stop with the “No Big Deal”

Posted August 10, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

I’ve noticed a trend recently, and unfortunately it’s a stereotype we can pile on women specifically. To illustrate it, let me give you a few scenarios:

  • Someone stops by your office at work. They thank you for your help with a project. You don’t say “You’re welcome.” You say “No worries” or “No big deal.”
  • Someone compliments you on your shoes or your dress and you say, “Oh, I’ve had this for years. I don’t even really like it” or “It was on sale” or “Ugh, I’m fat.”
  • Someone thanks you for your work on a huge project and you say, “I couldn’t have done it without the team” or “It was all ‘so and so’s’ influence” or  again “No big deal.”

We are, as a gender, diminishing our roles, diminishing our influence, and diminishing ourselves when we are bad at accepting praise. And I write this article with the full admission that I am personally terrible at this! So trust me, I’m not lecturing from the pulpit. I’m telling you this is something we all need to work on. I’m the first to say, “oh, no big deal.” But those words hurt my confidence and my power in every situation

So what are some ways to accept praise more graciously? It’s pretty easy actually.

  • Say thank you. And by the way, that sentence “Thank you.” comes with a period at the end. No need to qualify it.
  • If you feel the need to elaborate, say “It means a lot to hear your positive feedback.”
  • And especially when it comes to clothes, when someone compliments you say, “Thank you. I love this (dress, shoes, jewelry), too!”

Start accepting praise freely and graciously and you may just find that you’re feeling better about yourself and your work.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."