A Four-Letter Word I Want You to Use!


I was at 4th Monday Networking yesterday, and a man used a four-letter word I wasn’t expecting. I was surprised – shocked, actually – and I told him so.

We were discussing how his firm helps companies with customer satisfaction surveys, among other things, and he said something like “we help the companies do an even better job than they’re currently doing with customer satisfaction.”

Did you spot the word? Well, read on.

I realized the positive power of this particular word many years ago when I was helping a credit union create better employee reviews. You know what I mean: those dreaded annual reviews where we hope our boss actually likes us enough to keep us in our jobs (or maybe promote us to another one), and we go in all hopeful and too often leave dispirited (for many reasons). We discussed how to make employees really feel the praise that is intended, and we talked about the language we could use to achieve that.

For instance, a boss might say something like, “You had a great year. You did A, B, and C – and something you could do better would be . . . ”

We discussed whether those words would really make anyone happy, and the consensus was no. Not really. Not quite. They were meant as praise, but they fell a little flat.

Suddenly someone asked, “What if we said, ‘You did A, B, and C – and something you could do even better would be …’ ”

There it was! A truly magical four-letter word that changed the tenor of the comment from so-so to really good.

Yes, the word is EVEN. While it has just four letters, it can pack a strong, positive emotional punch. Suddenly the employee goes from “she hates me” to “I think she likes me!” without really knowing why. And isn’t that a great outcome?

How does this strike you? Are there situations where you could sneak this word into a conversation and see how it helps?

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