Life Changing Conversations for Entrepreneurs

From Jason Fried of 37Signals: Avoid These Four Letter Words!

From Jason Fried of 37Signals: Avoid These Four Letter Words!

Jason Fried’s book Rework has a great riff on four letter words you shouldn’t use. We entrepreneurs have to be careful with our language because our enthusiasm sometimes carries us away with our passions.  Here’s Jason’s list:


Jason thinks these words get in the way of good communication, and he has a point. These are words that create a black and white situation, when in fact things are usually shades of gray. In the end, these extremes cause tension, problems, and conflict. Here’s his specific take:

Need. Very few things need to get done. Negotiation coach and author Jim Camp distinguishes between need and want this way: we need oxygen. But that deal you are working on? You want it, you don’t need it. Try asking a question instead of making a needy demand. “What do you think about this?” or “How does this sound?”

Can’t. I love what Jason wrote: “when you say can’t you probably can. Sometimes there are even opposing can’ts. We can’t launch it like that because it’s not quite right, vs. we can’t spend any more time on this because we have to launch. Both of those statement can’t be true. Or wait a minute, can they?”

Easy. It’s always easy for the other guy. For us, well, maybe its easy but no one’s going to say that. Jason writes: “For you its ‘let me look into it’ but for others it’s ‘get it done.’”

Got any pet words you hate? Love to hear ‘em, especially not the common ones like always and never…


About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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