Background: I am part of a club in my university which deals primarily in public speaking, debating, etc. It's been close to 6 months since I joined and to be fair, I haven't done quite well in debating tournaments. Since, it is Asian Parliamentary Debate, much of the results depend on your teammates. However, my scores during these tournaments has only been average or in its neighborhood i.e. either slightly below average or slightly above average. However, the seniors in my club tell us, "You've got great potential. You are a good debator. You speak well" and variants thereof. However, my performance in the past 6 months show nothing that suggests any of the above.(At least, I feel so.)

For instance, I don't feel any marked improvement in my speaking skills. So, "Are these words only false praises just to not make us feel dejected?" If so, "How do I tell false praises from genuine ones?"

(P.S. - If this question is too broad, do tell in the comments how do I make it less broad)

  • 1
    is it safe to assume you're looking for 'non verbal communication'? Maybe you can specifically ask whether there's any research done on the non verbal communication that goes with false praise? And the first question you ask is primarily opinion based.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 15:45
  • Question: If you were doing badly, why would the seniors not want you to get depressed and leave? Wouldn't you be weighing the team down?
    – cHao
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 16:43
  • 1
    @Tinkeringbell "Non verbal communication" is probably the right word for what I was looking for.
    – Sid
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


I'm not really familiar with the Asian culture, however I think this answer is in the direction what you are searching for.

Ask for improvements or which parts they think were particulary good. When you ask this, the person giving the compliment is forced to give explanation why you did a good job. This has the effect that you know what your good and bad points are of your performance (this makes sure you can improve). If you don't really get feedback when you ask for clarification, you can be sure that they haven't really thought about it (and that the praise was not genuine).

Note that the person saying it could also say it to not make you feel bad, while this now makes that counter-productive for you, it is certainly not meant to make feel you that way.

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