A generic compliment is as memorable as a participation trophy for all 300 kids that played the soccer season. Not very memorable for the kid that practiced once and not a good memory for the kid that gave it his all, scored the winning goal and received the same trophy. It may satisfy from the moment of receipt to the back seat of the car, but then it morphs into a mere dust collector. Everyday we invest our lives in our families, work and communities. Observations of encouragement and correction deserve our best effort and specificity. To tell a spouse "you're the greatest" can quickly fall flat, however to say "you're the greatest because you expend your energy into your job then come home and do it all over again for the family. Thank-you for the delicious meal you created and it was amazing how your pesto sauce amplified the flavor of the fish!" will stick a bit longer and proves you are paying attention. The first option acknowledges and the second edifies. Specificity matters. I saw a co-worker earn an award for 35 years of service and be dismissed after a handshake by a VP, that couldn't pronounce his name. Shouldn't 35 years (72,000 hours) of dedication earn more than 8 seconds of notoriety in a dark conference room? When bringing correction, be specific; if bringing praise, be generous and specific. Those around us deserve better.
What is your default feedback look like? What benefit does feedback provide? How have you seen feedback done poorly? How have you experienced feedback done well? Have you given specific feedback; what were the results? Are you intentional about giving feedback? How have you expressed positive feedback to those around you? What impact would regular specific positive feedback have on those in your life?