5 tips on how to delight and be a delightful person (and why it matters)

Before we can truly make an impact and show our value to others, we first need to open doors. Delighting others – bringing them joy and affording them gratification – is the key to opening doors. Here are five tips that will help you delight others and reap the rewards of doing so!

1. Know yourself.

Delight is not a form of flattery, but instead a form of honesty and authentic self-presentation. Get in touch with what you’re genuinely good at – whether it be showing empathy, using puns, making jokes, what have you – then tailor these strengths to the situation.

2. Know your audience.

It is essential to know who you’re working with, who you’re talking to, and who your audience is. Make sure that you can adapt your strengths in a way that resonates with the person or group of people you hope to impact.

3. Use authentic humor.

Importantly, don’t confuse delighting with schmoozing. To delight is to genuinely engage and offer an “of-the-moment” response. In fact, people who show a good sense of humor at work are perceived as being warmer and more competent than those who don’t.

4. Be bold. Take risks!

Delighting is about violating perceptions in a benign way that makes people reconsider the preconceived notions they previously held. It’s important to show that you can be comfortable outside your comfort zone – this will also help others see you in a more holistic way that isn’t tied to a narrow perception of you and your capabilities. If you are bold and take risks in your interactions with others, as long as you are within boundaries and don’t cross any lines, then it could pay off in the form of heightened respect and appreciation from your audience.

5. Leverage the fun of surprise.

No script or heavy preparation is needed to delight—improvisation and spontaneity are key! Positive and appropriate forms of surprises can open up others’ perceptions of you in a beneficial way.