Generally, the term flattery refers to compliment someone excessively especially in order to win favours. This has been practiced from a long period of time as people try to achieve their desired positions by praising the ‘bottlenecks’ or people holding high positions. We all know that even during the Renaissance era, flattering the monarch was quite prevalent as Edmund Spencer flattered Queen Elizabeth in his poem Fairie Queene, and Shakespeare flattered King James in Macbeth.
Some people may consider flattery to be an incorrect way of impressing others as it leads to admitting people’s defects and being dishonest to them. But the fact is that nobody wants to receive any negative or critical comments about him/herself. Let’s take an example to get a better understanding:
“A King was told that a man who had made a career of flattery was coming to the palace.
“Be on your guard, Your Majesty,” warned his advisers. “This fellow wins the favour of the high and mighty through flattery, and then gets them to part with costly gifts or grants of land.”
“I’m too hard-headed to fall for such tricks,” said the King. “Let him come.”
When the man came he recited a verse in the ruler’s honour and fell at his feet.
“How honoured I am to be in the same room as the mightiest of monarchs,” he intoned. “I find myself blinded by the radiance of your beauty, the glory of your presence, your divine charm, your grace, your elegance…”
He went on in this fashion for about twenty minutes. When he paused for breath, one of the advisers seized the opportunity to have a quick word with his royal master.
“Didn’t we warn you, Your Majesty,” he said. “He is a glib talker.”
“Have no fear,” replied the Monarch. “As I told you it’s not easy to trick me. The moment he starts to flatter me I’ll have him thrown out. But so far he has spoken nothing but the truth.”
A little bit of flattery actually works to maintain healthy relationships with others and if applied appropriately, on the right time and in the right manner, it may result in an unexpected climb in your career. It is a human nature that people want to hear some nice things about themselves. So why not praise them and get what you want. Though you are being honest by criticising and pinpointing others’ mistakes or weak points all the time, even then it may create bitterness in your relationships.
Flattery is an art. A person should have a good understanding of the working of the other person’s mind. If one cannot think what the other has in his mind, it will be difficult for one to praise. So, a flatterer must always be a good psychologist. Not everyone can resist flattery because when people find their qualities appreciated, they start thinking they are superior to others. This superiority complex satisfies their ego. They feel that no other person can match their qualities. As a result, they become ready to do whatever asked in a bid to maintain their “top position”.
“Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.” ~ Dale Carnegie (writer)
Flattery is an art which can be developed just by following these simple steps:
- Use sweet and charming sentences to praise others with a little bit of warmth and affection.
- Do not be insincere and excessive in praising, if it crosses the limit, it may be dangerous to the relationships. If it falls short, the purpose of it will not be served. So it needs a very balanced approach towards the other person.
- Notice where a person has put some extra effort in making him/herself look good, acknowledge it. If you notice, it makes people feel good about them.
- Do not use very long sentences to praise, it may reduce the desired effect. So use short sentences instead.
- Make sure your words go along with a sincere smile and a direct eye contact.
So, let’s practice it and enjoy the favourable results.