Faking It

I once had a man come to me for coaching on how to improve his listening skills. His wife had told him he didn’t listen well. His clients (he was a marriage and family counselor) said they didn’t think he was listening.

His poor listening skills were affecting his marriage and his practice, so now, we were chatting over coffee, talking about what the goal of our working together would be. I had some ideas, but wanted to hear his first. He knew exactly what he wanted. “I imagine there are tricks,” he said, “like looking at someone’s forehead to fake eye contact. I want to learn those kinds of listening tricks.”

He wanted to fake listening. Warms your heart doesn’t it?

I wonder, occasionally, what excuse he gave his wife for why I wasn’t coaching him. I’m pretty sure he didn’t tell her what I thought of his objective.

Sincerity. He wanted to fake it. It might be possible, but I sure wasn’t going to be the one to help him.

Most of the managers I work with have a different concern when it comes to sincerity. I’m often asked “how do you ensure that recognition comes across as sincere.”

Simple answer: be sincere.

Have you ever had a manager give you insincere praise? How could you tell?


My name is Cindy Ventrice. I am the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies That Work.

My work has been quoted in The New York Times, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Workforce Magazine, and Tim Sanders' book The Likeability Factor.

Visit my website www.maketheirday.com today!

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