People often say thank you after you give them a compliment. This is standard right across the world.
It’s good to reply to a compliment with genuine appreciation. This article will explain how you can respond when someone says thanks to your compliment in several situations.
Say You’re Welcome
You can usually respond to a person’s expression of thanks with you’re welcome. It doesn’t matter whether you’re giving a compliment after they’ve given a speech or you’re praising them for their outfit.
In almost every situation, it would be appropriate to say you’re welcome. Saying you’re welcome is better than most other responses.
However, there are situations in which a nonverbal response will be more appropriate. These will be discussed later in this article.
To respond to thanks, you could say:
“You’re welcome, Jean.”
“You’re welcome, Delia. I appreciate the way you’ve executed this task.”
“Don’t mention it, Lin. I just want you to know how much we look forward to any event that you manage.”
Ensure that the tone of your response is as positive and welcoming as your initial compliment. Your response to their thanks can be very brief.
You’ve already made your main point with your initial compliment. Despite that, there are cases in which you may feel prompted to expand on what you initially said.
Expand on Your Initial Compliment
People are sometimes hesitant about giving compliments. As such, they may initially be very brief with a compliment.
For example, after a business meeting, you might want to express your appreciation for the way a colleague delivered a report. However, you might actually want to compliment several aspects of their presentation.
Initially, you might say, good report John. To which they might say thank you. If you observe that they genuinely appreciate your compliment, you might feel a little more relaxed about complimenting other aspects of their delivery.
In that case, you might reply to their thanks with further details. You could say:
“I like the way that you made eye contact with everyone in the room.”
“I appreciate the tone in which you delivered your speech.”
“I’m glad that you were able to supply sales summaries on the last three quarters. This really helped us to compare our performance across all the branches.”
Giving additional details in any context helps a person to develop. It also shows that you’re not just giving a generic compliment but you are actually paying attention.
For example, even in personal situations, you can provide more details by saying:
“Whenever you wear those colors it brings out your personality.”
“Shoes in that style always flatter your feet.”
“Your backstroke really is improving. You appear to be much more comfortable in the water.”
Giving specifics to enhance your initial compliment provides more useful information and can help you to stand out in a positive way, especially if you’re complimenting someone in a business context.
Sometimes a smile is sufficient when someone says thanks. You might not always be able to respond verbally for different reasons.
For example, if someone else has already called your attention away when you’re in a group conversation, you can still turn and smile at the person who has just responded to you. Just let them know that you acknowledge their thanks.
Similarly, in other situations where you have to be managing several things at once, you might not be able to respond verbally. A smile conveys your emotions. Smiling also helps the person to know that you wish them well.
Sometimes you might pay a compliment to a person in a very emotional context. For example, events such as weddings are often filled with emotion.
When you deliver a compliment to a person who has just made a moving speech and they say thanks, you might feel like crying or you might be consumed by other overwhelming emotions. In that situation, it might be difficult for you to respond verbally but you can still smile in response.
A nod is an appropriate response to thanks in several situations and it can influence the person to keep on doing well. 
If you encounter a stranger and pay them a compliment on their shoes and they say thanks, a nod helps you to end the conversation quickly and move on. A nod indicates that you have acknowledged their thanks and it doesn’t put pressure on them to respond any further.
Nods are very effective in situations where you don’t have a lot of time and need to move on quickly to something else. They’re effective in situations where you don’t want to respond verbally but you might not feel that a smile is appropriate.
For example, if you’re just not naturally a person who smiles a lot, a nod might match your personality more. Similarly, in some contexts such as when a coach has just complimented someone, they’re training on an aspect of their performance, a nod may help to maintain the kind of demeanor that you seek.
Nodding after you’ve just complimented someone who you’re training might sometimes make it easier for you to transition to point out aspects of their performance that they still need to work on.
Follow Up Via an Additional Gift
There are many other nonverbal responses that are appropriate when someone says thank you. There are even responses that might work best if you didn’t respond initially but would like to follow up later on.
For example, if a neighbor did very well in the community and you pay them a compliment and they said thank you, you might want to follow up on your initial compliment with a small gift later on.
If your child performed well in their examination and you praise them for their performance, you might want to follow up their thanks with a reward later on. Remind them that they can always do well if they work for it. 
For example, you could give them a framed photo of themselves studying as a reminder that hard work pays dividends. You could even reward them with a trip to a theme park as a follow-up.
Gifts are often a good way to respond and they show how much you support the effort that person has made to do well.
If you’re managing a team and you compliment them on their performance, you could follow up their thanks with certificates of appreciation for each person on your team.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.