How being complimentary to someone can make you a better writer of advertisements

On New Year’s Eve we held a dance at the Bollard, and I was no more than half an hour into the event when I noticed a lady who was a dancer of stunning talent and ability. So at the first opportunity I asked her for a spin on the floor. She was indeed amazing.

Naturally, at the end of the dance I said, “Wow, you’re a remarkable dancer,” to which she replied “No, you are a remarkable dancer,” to which I replied “No it is you that….” and so on.

Eventually we stopped telling each other how brilliant we each were, and she promised to find me among the throng for another dance later in the evening.

And indeed we did meet up again, and by chance found ourselves dancing close to the seats which surround the dance floor. Then, having lost ourselves in the dance once more, we were totally taken aback when, as we finished, several dancers who were sitting this number out burst into a spontaneous round of applause for our efforts.

I must admit I have never experienced such a thing before and it struck me how welcome compliments are when they are given. Of course, perhaps it is just me and my deep need to feel appreciated, or perhaps it is just that I don’t get many compliments, but when I do get a sincere compliment I can remember it for years.

As when last year while staying with friends at a swanky hotel in Cyprus, we found ourselves alone in a bar in the early hours, and spotting a piano I stepped up and played. My companions were overwhelming in their comments. Yes they were friends, yes they’d drunk a lot, but even so I was lifted to the stars.

To round my year off, just before Christmas I received a number of very welcome positive notes from readers of my rather bizarre Toppled Bollard tales. I closed my computer on 24 December feeling a deeply warm glow for such kind and unexpected comments.

So all of us at the Bollard have resolved to make sure that this year, when we see something that really deserves a compliment, we’ll each of us give that compliment rather than just thinking it. Today I just tried it for the first time, and my goodness, it made me feel good.

Which raises the question: how on earth can I use this thought about compliments in my advertising? At the moment I have no idea, but if I find an answer (or if you think of one and let me know) I’ll reveal all next time around. If not, I’ll write about something else.

Tony Attwood.