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Happy talk with the head honcho

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You have a chance encounter with your division president and you want to say something impressive. Nothing comes to mind, so you resort to that old standby: compliments.

But there are right and wrong ways to do it. Say you praise her on how she handled some layoffs or kept her cool when an ex-employee burst into her office and threatened her.

Bad move. Complimenting executives on how they responded to negative situations makes them relive bad memories. Even if you’re sincere, they may resent you for bringing up something they’d prefer to forget. Play it safe and compliment them on their triumphs.

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