If you want someone to develop a habit of some kind, just reinforce the action with a compliment consistently.   This is appropriately called continuous reinforcement and it works consistently well. 

 

Whether your interest in this subject is from the viewpoint of a parent, friend, business associate or teacher, here is a technique or system that will make your praising more effective

 

First, effective praising needs to be immediate.  The sooner you praise an act or behavior, the greater will be the impact.

 

Second in importance is to make the praise specific so that the receiver can recognize that he/she is deserving.  Also, when you praise a specific action or behavior, you increase the likelihood that the action will be repeated.  If you just say that the person is doing a good job at something, the effect of the praise is only moderate compared to naming a specific incident.

 

The third factor is to make the praise as public as possible.  The rule leading to success in this matter is to criticize in private and compliment in front of as many people as possible.  The more people who hear the compliment to another, the greater will be the impact. 

                

An effective addition to praise is an expression of admiration.  This makes the recipient feel important.   You can admire punctuality, generosity, persistence, determination, etc. and it will make people feel valuable and important.  We are all appropriately proud of our positive traits. 

 

So that’s the formula–raise with praise.  Follow the rules and you will have another tool that will make everything work better.

 

Gregory B. Anderson–director

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