A Communication Tip: Using the words ‘but‘ or ‘however‘ not only negates whatever was said before, it makes people defensive, whether they realize it or not. Some examples: “I love the client report but I have a few changes I want to make,” “I understand your conclusion, however, let me share with you another option,” “I enjoyed your team presentation but let me give you a few suggestions” or “yes, you can leave early tomorrow but make sure I have the report before you go.”
TRY THIS TODAY: Replace the word ‘but’ or ‘however’ with the word ‘and.’ Try it with the examples above and listen to how it sounds. Can you see in each example how using the word ‘and’ ever so slightly changes how the message will be received? It takes away defensiveness, feeling dismissed, quasi-inferring someone is not as smart as you.
Want to become a believer? For the next 24 hours try this communication skills exercise: In any conversation you have, see how often others use the word ‘but.’ Sure, there are times it’s the right word to use. And I suspect you will notice how often using the word ‘and’ would have been more effective.
Thanks to the insights of Marshall Goldsmith and Linda Finkle for this great communication tip.