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How to suck up without looking like you’re sucking up

by Celine on October 30th, 2007

Everyone needs to suck up at least once in their lives, whether you’re trying to sell the big idea or attempting to get away with murder (I hope not literally though).  However, sucking up isn’t for the uninitiated - you have to know the right way to do it or else you’ll, well, look like a suck up.  And everyone will hate you.

Since you don’t want to incur the wrath or irritation of your colleagues, here are some tips you should follow to ensure that flattery will make you go places (but hopefully not to Hell).

Don’t do it all the time.  If you flatter someone (or people in general) quite often, you’re going to come off insincere and no one will believe you.

Mean it.  Whatever praises you give, make sure you mean it.  If you don’t mean it, you need to fake it really well. Unless you have the acting prowess of an Oscar winner, I suggest you avoid pulling that off.  Trust me, most people can tell the difference.
Suck up to the little people too.  No, I don’t mean kids or mini-me.  I’m talking about the guy who brings you your coffee or your mail.  They probably get a lot of crap from some of your colleagues, so try to be nice to them.  It can do wonders for their mood and the quality of service you get.

Don’t just praise people all willy-nilly.  Do it at the right time, at the right moment, when they’ve done something good and they’re just waiting for someone to notice. Praising someone for their good work/skills/insight in the middle of a conversation about football may be considered weird in some circles.

Ask questions.  Don’t just say “That presentation was nice!”, instead say “Wow, that was really impressive.  How did you do that animation thing at the end?” This invites people to talk about their work.  You’ll notice that they’ll have some kind of proud glow when they do that.

 Invite others to flatter the person as well.  Not with formal invitations, of course.  If your boss just gave a wonderful speech, you can tell him “I thought that speech was very inspiring, Sir. “  Then, turn to a colleague and say “What did you think about it?”.  This only works if you do have a colleague nearby.  If it’s just you and your boss in the room, he’s going to think you’re talking to yourself.

 Don’t read or discuss this article in front of your boss or colleagues.  Because odds are, they’re not stupid.  They can figure out what you’re trying to do, and even if you were planning on being sincere, you’re going to come off insincere anyway.

POSTED IN: Workplace pimps, Workplace hacks, Cube life

2 opinions for How to suck up without looking like you’re sucking up

  • elo
    Nov 22, 2020 at 1:54 am

    i totally agree with sucking up with little people! :) such a small thing but can make a big difference!

    your articles are interesting with the right humor. keep it up. :)

  • Saying “Thank You” in the Workplace
    Dec 7, 2020 at 10:51 am

    […] it, think again.  Odds are, all the thanks your boss is getting are from insincere suck-ups.  Here’s a previous post on some tips on how you can avoid looking like a suck-up […]

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