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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Susan Rooks
Susan Rookshttps://grammargoddess.com/
With nearly 30 years’ experience as an international workshop leader, Susan Rooks is uniquely positioned to help people master the communication skills they need to succeed. In 1995, Susan formed Grammar Goddess Communication, creating and leading workshops in three main areas – American grammar, business writing, and interpersonal skills – to help business pros enhance their communication skills. She also leads one-hour LinkedIn workshops (Master the LinkedIn Profile Basics) via Zoom to help business pros anywhere maximize their LinkedIn experience, offering it to Chambers of Commerce and other civic organizations free of charge. As an editor, Susan has worked on business blogs, award-winning children’s books, best-selling business books, website content, and even corporate annual reports (with clients from half a dozen countries), ensuring that all material is professionally presented. In April 2022, Susan became the Managing Editor of the Florida Specifier, a bi-monthly trade publication covering Florida’s diverse environmental industry. And although the focus is on Florida’s issues, many of these same challenges are found elsewhere around the world, so the readership isn’t limited to just Floridians or those interested in that state. But in all these endeavors, Susan’s only goal is to help everyone look and sound as smart as they are.


  1. I have learned to love the equalizer effect of the word even. Your article has added an EVEN broader dimension. My infatuation with the word even helps me accept things that don’t go according to plan or turn out in a way that is counter to what I wanted. Even if or Even if not help me get past the temporary regret.