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The Only 4-letter Word You Need to Know in Business

And the two simple ways to achieve it

Rigby enjoying one of his favorite four-letter words

My dog is a fan of four-letter words.

Specifically, ball, ride, and park. Of course, he understands lots of other non-four-letter words, too, it’s just that when you say one of the words above, he immediately responds in a favorable way.

For my dog Rigby, straightforward and clear language reigns.

I’d argue to say that we humans are making our business lives more complicated than necessary using extravagant buzzwords and flowery language. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a fan of vivid words and descriptors. What I’m speaking of is the litany of acronyms and fanciful terms that pollute our meetings, conference calls, and presentations.

I know you know you what I’m talking about. You probably have a list of your own verbal pet peeves.

So what does a bleeding edge guru have to do to create a sea change, improve ROI, and be an impactful disruptor? (I can practically see the collective eye-rolling.)

It’s a magic four-letter word, but probably not the one you think: help.

That’s right, help.

It’s basic. It’s simple. It’s effective.

After sitting on both sides of the PowerPoint presentation, I can attest to the power of someone cutting through the BS to show me how they are going to help their clients.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Ask questions. Yep, ask away. No matter how skilled you are, you probably do not know as much as your client does about their business. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is assuming that you do. By asking a few (or many) questions, you can gather additional information, which will be meaningless unless you also…
  2. Listen. Am I the only one who is irritated when someone asks a question and then doesn’t bother to hear the answer? Please don’t be that person. When you close your mouth and open your ears, amazing things happen. And while we’re at it, listen to hear, not to formulate a response. Take a beat, absorb the information, and then reply. What you hear can help you better define your client’s real pain points and perhaps re-frame a solution that would have previously been unmentioned.

See? Knowing how to help can be another four-letter word: easy.

© Amy Blaschka, 2017

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

— — —

Amy is the president of rbp consulting, a consultancy specializing in helping transform people and organizations in transition. When she’s not involved in some sort of makeover, you’ll find her…unhappy. She enjoys being a badass writer, playing co-ed volleyball, and pretending she has her own HGTV show. She loves traveling and spending time with her friends and family, which includes a yellow lab named Rigby.

Need some assistance making your message more helpful? Contact Amy at or say hi on Twitter @amyblaschka.

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