How can a word like BUT completely change a conversation and turn something maybe with a positive, intent into something that gets completely squashed and in fact creates a very negative outcome? In this Quicky we look at how changing the word BUT for AND could give you a completely different outlook and way more positive interactions. Try it for 7 days!
Imagine you are with a close friend or someone who says I really love you as a friend, I am glad we get to hang out together, and I really love your sense of humour… and then pauses and adds …BUT….
Or someone says
That’s a lovely top you’re wearing … but…
You did a fantastic job with this… but…
I like your new hairdo… but…
What happens in your mind when the person says that little word – even before they say anything else?
We rationally respond with an emotional response and ignore everything that went before the ‘but’ and to focus on what comes after it – instinctively we recognise that this is what they really think, feel or intend.
The word BUT negates or cancels everything that goes before it. And is generally accepted as a signal that the really important part of the sentence is coming up.
When you use it most people listening to you will give more attention and more weight to what you say after you say BUT. This tiny little word is definitely misused…
What you can do to have way more powerful and positive impact is to simply replace BUT with the word AND! Do it for just seven days and it is likely that you will use it a lot less in future.
So instead of something like:
I had a great time with you but perhaps we tried to pack too much into it
Your performance in your job has been very good but I’d like you to be more of a team player
I agree with a lot of what you are saying but I wonder if we could examine this particular point
Try replacing the word BUT with AND…
I had a great evening out with you AND perhaps we tried to pack too much into it
Your performance in your job has been very good and I’d like you to be more of a team player
I agree with a lot of what you are saying, and I wonder if we could examine this particular point
Try this for the next week and see how your rapport, outcomes and relationships may change.
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