How impressed are you with yourself

As The People-Skills Coach, I often write posts on improving communication with just one word. The post, The Perfect Apology and the ONE Word That Destroys It, has helped thousands to improve their people-skills for tough moments.

Today I touch on a not so obvious one word change that makes a big difference.   The next time you think of saying,  “I am proud of you”, ask yourself if impressed would be a better word.

People-Skills: Words to Foster Morale


The Story.
A friend of mine hired a consultant to give her some technical coaching on how to use Facebook. Twice in their very first session, the consultant said “I am proud of you”. My friend told me she thought the consultant was about to put a little gold star on her forehead the way they did in grammar school.

When I stopped laughing, I felt compelled to write this post on the difference between I am proud of you vs. I am impressed.

Proud works with:

  1. Your children
  2. Your town’s sports teams
  3. Your state’s or town’s recovery from disaster
  4. Your country (e.g. our troops)
  5. Your mutual success (leaders, teammates, family members)

The common element is mutual involvement and success.

Time is also a factor. If the consultant had been working with my friend for a long time and knew my friend well, “I am proud of you” could work.  Said too soon in a work relationship, it suggests a familiarity and hierarchy that sounds patronizing.

Leaders, take note.  Your title and position don’t guarantee success.  If you have established a bond, “I am proud of you” can deliver a very special message and boost morale.  If you say it to your teams without first getting to know them, the statement may fizzle like a wet firecracker.

On the other hand, “I am so impressed with …” or “I am proud to know you” communicates recognition of the person’s efforts while showing respect for their independence and individuality.  Parents — this works well with teenagers and your adult children!

When I teach, coach, or team build, I remark about my clients’ breakthroughs and strides in this way.  It acknowledges their accomplishments and avoids the patronizing pitfalls of  “I am proud of you”.

From my experience to your success,

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish, please email [email protected] Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal and professional success. 21 years and still innovating, Kate delivers workshops, DVDs, and consultations that take you and your teams from good/great to unstoppable. See this site for more info.

Tags: business owners, communication, corporate, leaders, managers, morale, parents, People Skills, recognition, Soft Skills, words

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