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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

The Ultimate Four Letter Word: Nice

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

Nice is the unflavored gelatin on the dessert buffet of life.  It’s the adjective that you should be striving to avoid instead of striving for.  Being nice often ends up in people being taken advantage of and generally disrespected.

I had lunch with a fantastic woman recently who told me that she had a problem with being too nice.  Exhibit A:

She was sitting in a meeting with her business partner and two potential collaborators.  Long story short, the one of collaborators fawned all over this woman’s partner and then immediately was condescending towards her.

When I asked if she had called them on it, she said she didn’t.  Since sometimes the benefits don’t outweigh the risks, I asked her why not.  She admitted that she was, “too nice”.  She was also, “afraid of blowing the business deal”.

Here’s the problem with that logic.  First, why would you want to be in business with someone who treats you like a jerk?  And if there was some type of relationship to be had, do you want to set the precedent that you are a carpet that can be walked all over?

The denotation of nice is literally “satisfactory”.  It’s not mind-blowing or game-changing.  It doesn’t command respect.  Ms. Congeniality may get a ribbon, but that’s about it.

If you are one that leans too far towards nice, ask why. Most of the time, it’s because you think it’s a way for people to like you.  In business, it’s really a way for people to use you or to make you do extra work while they reap the benefits.

The next time you want to be nice, think about what other descriptors you can put in that place?  Maybe it’s to be fair.  Maybe it’s to be compassionate.  Maybe it’s to be kick-ass and respected.  Put the nice on ice and remove it from your vocabulary and behavior.

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Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth