The word ‘with’ is powerful, yet underutilized in our discourse. We live in a society that tends to value competition more than collaboration. Thus, we end up with statements like, “Yesterday, I talked to him” or “I work for this company.” Those sentences, while perfectly fine, lack the nuances of dynamic relationships and communication. If you talked to somebody, you didn’t converse with them. However, if you talk with somebody, you both can add value to the conversation, and therefore add value to each other. Likewise, working with somebody or an organization places a sense in the individual that they are working with others towards a common goal.
When I’m consulting a non-profit or a small business, I don’t do anything for them. I work with them to bring out their potential as well as mine. I let them know that we’re in this together. Take a vested interest in everything you do. Try using ‘with’ in your conversations, work, and relationships and see how its use changes the meanings and value of them.