thanks for nothing

I have never seen Bambi. I do know this, though. A rabbit named Thumper says, at one point in the movie: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Forgiving Thumper’s lack of double negatives knowledge, after all, a talking rabbit is spectacular enough as it is.

Would the claim hold ground in a business context? Not likely. What if Thumper was a consultant advising businesses? When a company pays another company, the latter shouldn’t be told what they want to hear. Consultants and advisors should tell their clients the truth, however inconvenient it may be.

If Thumper’s claim isn’t transferable to a business context as such, what parts should be altered, if any? How about: “if you can’t say something actionable, don’t say anything at all.” Surely, business-to-business clients want to be inspired too once in a while. Maybe they want to hear about new developments in their own – or an adjacent domain. Advice, unasked for, is doomed to be dismissed. Upon establishing that the client is actively seeking advice, tell the client what to do and how to do it.

In a recent conversation with a professional service I’m using, they presented me with options. Unfortunately for them, options I knew existed. Without telling me pro’s and con’s, risks and pitfalls, you have literally wasted my time. Thanks for nothing.

André 3000, part of the iconic hip-hop duo Outkast, once laid out super solid business advice. Read this in your best Atlanta, Georgia accent, shorty.

“This old lady told me, if I ain’t got nothin’ good, say nathan.
That’s why I don’t talk much.
I swear it don’t cost much, to pay attention to me.
I tell like it is, then I tell it how it could be.”

If you can’t say something actionable, wait until you can formulate a plan and approach before presenting your findings.

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