Answer by Jane Chin, STEM Leadership Development, janechin.com, on Quora,

Look to include people whom others may ignore or overlook. This helps them feel welcome and wanted.

My husband has a habit of looking for the person who is standing alone, looking a bit out of place at a party or a gathering, and engaging that person in friendly conversation. He may then include another person in the conversation, essentially serving as a facilitator or connector between the lone ranger at the party and other people in the group.

When praising, be specific about what you are praising and why you care. This helps the person continue the praise-worthy behavior.

The most effective praise is one where you explain to the person what that person had done "well" and why this matters to you and others. For example, let's say there was a volatile situation at a meeting and the person being confronted was able to neutralize the situation.

Rather than say, "That would have been some blow-up in the meeting! I'm glad you handled it well," a specific and effective praise may be, "I liked how you kept your voice calm and reminded our coworker that we are trying to achieve the same goal, even if we may have different opinions about the best approach. This was a good reminder to me and everyone else at that meeting."

The specific praise lets the person know what you have noticed as "handling well," and what that behavior is (keeping calm voice, reminding we are on the same team), because the next time, that person will continue these specific behaviors. Another positive side effect of specific praise is the giver of the praise becomes very analytical about the specific behaviors that makes the difference, and this analysis allows the giver of the praise improve in a similar situation down the road. (You praise others, you improve yourself!)

When appreciating, take the time to say "thank you." This helps the person feel noticed for the small things.

I've observed that we are all rushing and busy, and when we say "thank you" we often make this quick utter, "Thanks!" and then we are rushing off. To hold myself in place for a second or two longer, I'd say "Hey thanks, I really appreciate this," or "Thank you for {here I will insert a very specific thing I am thanking that person for doing}."

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Published on: Sep 12, 2014