Flattery will get you everywhere the old saying goes, but is that really the case?
In this ever litigious world in which we, where does the line exist between complimenting someone and that compliment becoming a problem.
In Sales, it is an old trick to massage the customer’s ego to close the deal. Making someone feel good about themselves, linking it to your product and service. Heck, the entire beauty industry is based on the premise of ‘buy our products and other people will like you‘.
In service industries such as restaurants or taxis, flattery often makes the difference between a tip to top up low wages or no tip at all. Whilst the tipping culture is strong within the USA, there is no obligation in the UK to tip. This may account for the friendly server of an American restaurant coming across as being over-enthusiastic to UK tourists who may just see what passes for good service as being manipulative flattery.
What about in the corporate office environment though? How appropriate is flattery there? Sooner or later if you use flattery in a professional environment someone will see the opportunity for a fast buck and try and describe it as harassment or objectification.
Frightened of this risk and the harm it can do your career, I think many people just simply back away from it altogether. Which is a shame really. The world could be a so much better place with a smile and a sincerely delivered compliment throughout the work day.
Knowing where to define the line is beyond the reach of a short blog post as I am sure we all have different points of view of where that line should be.