? # @ !
Yes, you read that right. Kids and teens, you can use this four letter word without getting into trouble and get your parents to stop nagging you. You win!
Parents, you can use this word to get an answer other than “I don’t know” from your kids when you ask them a question. You win!
And wives, you can say this four letter word to your husband without making him become defensive and retreat into the man cave for the rest of the night. You win!
What is the four letter word? Hmmmm. Let me tell you what it isn’t first. “Why”. The word “why” can immediately throw up the defensive wall in some people. Think about your own reaction when someone asks you why.
- Why did you do that?
- Why do you do it that way?
- Why did you say that?
- Why are you so afraid of …?
Inevitably, when you start a question with the word “why” you’re going to get the answer “I don’t know” even though the person really does know why. “Why” is a three letter word, but it has the potential of eliciting a four letter response.
For example, in pageant land, it could be something as simple as dress shopping. What starts out to be an enjoyable shopping experience can quickly turn when the daughter turns to the mother and says “why do you always pick that style of dress for me?” Feeling her button pushed, the mother quickly fires back, “Because I like it and I think it’s appropriate on you.” A big eye roll from the daughter, and yet another button gets pushed in mom and on it goes.
So to turn any conversation into a winning experience, where both parties are understood and a deeper level of communication takes place, substitute the word “what” when you feel the urge to start with “why”.
Using our dress scenario as an example, the daughter could have said, “what is it about this dress that you like so much?” The mother could have said something like “I think the way the neckline brings attention to your shoulders. They’re one of your strongest physical attributes.” “Wow!” the daughter thinks. “I’ve never really noticed that about myself; but now that mom points that out, I think she’s right.”
The word “what” helps your mind immediately start to think of specific reasons, where the word “why” puts you are guard and it feels like a personal attack.
Here are some phrases to try out this week using the winning four letter word. Give them a shot and see what a difference it makes in your communication with people.
- What did you mean when you said …?
- What can I do to help you?
- What do you want from this experience?
- What can we do to make our time together more enjoyable?
Make sure your tone in using the word “what” is coming from a place of curiosity. You won’t have a positive exchange if you’re using the word “what” but thinking another four letter word in your head.
This week, be curious and substitute the word “what” for “why” and see what results you get.
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Pageant Season Is Here!
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and a member of the International Coach Federation. She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®. She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educates their children and has been married 22 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com .