by Roy Saunderson | August 09, 2016
Knowing the right things to say is critical for giving authentic, meaningful recognition. Expressions like, "I want you to know how much I appreciate your help today with finalizing ABC's incentive program launch. You saved the day for us, Kim, by getting everything ready to go," makes use of all the right words. Check out the Top 10 Powerful Words below for crafting amazing recognition and tune up how you give recognition.

1. The word "I" -- the personal pronoun of the giver of recognition -- is a powerful word. Not used as preoccupation with self but as the presenter of the acknowledgement, in case the "you" -- the receiver -- discounts what you say.

2. Giving "Thanks" is an informal expression of gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment. Its root comes from the word to think. Too often too little said, this word warms the hearts and souls of all that hear and deserve to receive it.

3. To "Appreciate" someone is to be more fully aware of all who they are, their background, life experience, and all they have really given in the workplace. It is your responsibility to appreciate and elevate the value of what they have done.

4. Recognition is directed at "You", the personal pronoun of the receiver of recognition. It is used to substitute for the name of the person being recognized so the thanks and appreciation slowly sinks in to the recipient's heart and mind.

5. Specify the "Contribution" the person has made with their work. Remember people want to know that their effort, time, and hard work is valued and appreciated. They have added something important that wasn't there before.

6. Use the recognized person's "Name" by which they are called and known by. Give their preferred name, which may not be their given or legal name. Always identify whom you are acknowledging because their name is music to their ears.

7. Clearly tell them the "Impact" they have made, or the influence or effect their actions had towards you, their peers, on customers or to the company. This gives meaning to the contribution they've made which they may not even be aware of.

8. Ensure you use "Positive" vocabulary in your written or verbal expressions of recognition. Only 30 percent of English vocabulary is positive. No "ifs", "ands" or "buts". No sarcasm or making light of contributions. No sandwich feedback.

9. Put "Feelings" into the recognition you give. Get excited about the recognition you give to people and make an emotional connection to the actions and words relayed. Recognition is a felt phenomenon so display as much as possible.

10. Focus on building "Relationships" not just recognizing a person. Look for positives about the individual(s) involved and acknowledge their solid strengths and amazing attributes you observed in making their contributions on the job.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.