Five Ways to Be More Encouraging
Kevin Eikenberry


We all need encouragement.  Even the most callous, hard-headed self- made person needs encouragement to stay on track and move forward. This isnít news Ė it is something we all know.

Unfortunately, many times we donít take action on what we know.

We can change our habits about encouragement Ė we can choose to become a more encouraging person.  This will have a positive impact on our results and satisfaction in a variety of roles we play in life Ė from leader to co-worker to team member to parent to family member.

Below are five specific ways that you can become more encouraging starting as soon as you finish reading this article.

Encourage with your eyes.  Donít underestimate the importance and value of solid eye contact.  Think about the people you know who always seem to make good eye contact with you.  How do you feel about them?  Do you feel that they support and believe in you?  Do they seem to care more?  This is a glimpse at how powerful good solid eye contact can be.  Perhaps these people havenít said anything to give you encouragement, but their presence and eye contact show you anyway.  Use your eyes to be encouraging Ė make eye contact with people.

Encourage with your face.  This is perhaps the easiest of all.  Smile.  A smile is a powerful encourager.  It tells people that they are okay.  It tells people that what they are doing is okay.  For some people smiling comes naturally, while others need to be more conscious of smiling.  You know which you are.  Either way, there are probably more opportunities and more situations where you can flash your pearly whites.  Smile.  You will be encouraging when you do and you will feel better yourself.

Encourage with your lips.  Of course we can say encouraging things.  In fact, when you started reading this list, Iíll bet you expected the whole list to be things to say or situations in which to say them.  We all know how to be encouraging with our words.  So do it.  Be supportive.  Give people specific comments and encouragement on who they are and what they are doing.  Let them know that they matter.  Let them know how their work adds value.  Encourage with your lips.

Encourage with your feet.  Encouragement can come in the form of being there.  Sit in on the meeting someone asks you to attend, even if you know they can handle it.  Go to the ball game.  Your presence and attention can be powerful encouragers and motivators.  Be aware that your actions in themselves can be encouraging, so act accordingly.  First you must be there, and then you must behave in encouraging ways.

Encourage with your head.  If all you see is what people are doing wrong, it is hard to be encouraging.  The biggest barrier some of us have to overcome to become more encouraging is in our head Ė we arenít looking for and therefore seeing the right things.  We must focus on and look for the positive things.  Look for the good.  Then use your feet, lips, face and eyes to communicate those encouraging messages.

Okay, it's your turn.

Get up from your chair now.  Pick one of these approaches and practice it right now.

Write these five things down on an index card and carry it with you for the next three weeks.  Refer to the card often as a reminder to continue to use these approaches to becoming more encouraging.

You will be amazed at the new results you will see in those around you and in your own life as well.  You can do it Ė you can make this choice.

Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (, a learning consulting company that helps clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services.

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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.