Many people get uncomfortable when getting praises. Definitely, they like it but are concerned about being dismissive or saying something stupid and not responding thus coming off as offensive.

You could consider having a comfortable plan that can fit in the middle. Everybody craves praises, yet accepting a compliment graciously is a challenge the world over. You might be looking forward to getting praises — particularly from a person you admire. However, it is possible you do not know how you should respond.

Most people minimize compliments as a way of avoiding coming off as conceited. This is very common and sociolinguists have even categorized responses to praises. The 3 responses are deflection, rejection or acceptance. Instead of out-rightly rejecting or humbly accepting the compliments, most people often decide to dilute or deflect the praise.


You could get tempted to give a response by denying or even as a self-insult. However, it is a lot easier to simply say, “Thank you, only that I really was not as helpful.”Other people can ask for more reassurance by using a response like “Really? I thought I had completely messed up the speech.”

Although you might feel as though your response is appropriate, it, however, only serves to undermine the praise and even insult the giver. By devaluing compliments, you are sending a message that you are not confident in what you do and that you have a rather low self-esteem. It can also come across as if you are not respectful of the sentiment of the individual giving you the compliment.

Many people do not know how to respond when people pay them a compliment. It is important that you realize that they are trying to recognize something that you have done. For sure you will not just ignore or blankly stare at them. It is only logical that you offer an acknowledgement. If you often at times respond in a negative manner to compliments, you could consider retraining yourself to express gratitude.

Below are some ways that you could use to humbly and graciously accept kind words of praise.

Use suitable body language

When you get nervous or are uncomfortable, your gestural cues can give the unintended impression. Avoid crossing your arms or coming across as though you are disinterested. Rather, lean forward slightly, maintain eye contact, and engage the people around you with friendly facial expressions. Be sure to take in those moments of praise.

Show gratitude

Every time you are offered a compliment, respond by saying “Thank you.” This is a simple, yet a powerful expression. The person giving the praise will be more receptive to the humble response. You can respond with, “Thank you, that is kind of you,” and also “Thank you, I do appreciate the compliments.”

Always accept awards using the left hand

When you are recognized for professional achievements in a ceremonial setting, at all times accept the trophy, plaque, or the certificate using the left hand. In so doing the right hand is left free for a handshake with the person who is presenting the award. This will also allow others who would want to celebrate you be able to do so.


Acknowledge teamwork

When a compliment offered involves a team effort, it is important that you recognize the input from your colleagues. Several powerful executives get to a point that they do not publicly acknowledge or recognize those who had assisted them to succeed.

This has proven to be the fastest way to lose your friends. Rather, openly acknowledge the teamwork effort. You could give a response like, “Everyone put in much effort; thank you for recognizing our hard work.”

Do not downplay a compliment

Receive every praise with modest gratitude. Avoid using phrases such as, “Oh, it’s not a big deal,” or “Thank you, but that was nothing.” Whenever you downplay praises, you may feel that you are showing humility. But instead, it will make anyone person who offers you the praise feel rejected.

Follow proper etiquette

When you are getting a toast, stick to the right protocol. People receiving a toast you should not drink soon after the speech is completed. Think of how it can get awkward if you are singing “Happy Birthday” in your party. Rather, smile and nod your head, give everyone the chance to sip their beverage then offer you a return toast.

Avoid a battle of compliments

Particularly when you receive a compliment from a person you admire and respect, you might be tempted to understate or even “out-compliment” your work. Fight the desire to one-up sincere compliments offered to you.

Do not respond by saying, “Thank you, only that we know that my contribution was not as important as yours.” You could instead, take in and enjoy the moment and appreciate the accolades.

Do you find the above tips helpful? Please share your thoughts and if you have further tips even better!

37 replies on “How To Accept Praises At Work Graciously

  1. This was such an insightful article on receiving awards graciously. Didn’t know it was better to receive an award with your left hand. Sometimes the person who nominated you may have put in quite a bit of effort before deciding to give you the award. For me, I don’t like receiving awards or getting any kind of formal recognition – and opt out of these things. For me, awards don’t define me and isn’t a measure of what I can and cannot do, and the fact that these things are based on a hierarchical system doesn’t sit well with me. Sure, there are some things we can do better than someone else, but that doesn’t mean we are better than that person.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’ve raise a very valid point. Many do drive towards awards and recognition in order to feel accomplished. For me, it’s more like a short moment of pleasure but as most Asians goes, my preference will go with promotions, increased responsibilities and pay raises instead of praises and trophies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing. Learnt a lot. The part of Africa where I come from, it is offensive to receive something from someone using your left hand. But seeing the reason why we should use the left hand here, it makes a lot if sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great points, Kally! I finally trained myself to just say, “Thank you.”
    It offends the person who complimented you, if you say, “Oh, this old dress?” If you were complimented on your dress. You make the person feel as though you think they can’t be trusted to know the difference between good or bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a creative thought and writing!! You have keenly handled the small but important aspects that many underrated. Recognizing teamwork is so important, some assumes that they’re responsible for all their success forgetting that team spirit may have played a role

    Liked by 1 person

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