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South Burlington, VT

Value Creation Blog

Learn To Love The Word “And”

Posted by Josh Patrick

andStop using the word but.  I don’t mean cut down on using the word, I mean completely stop using the word.  It’s a word that misused and helps those you talk with not believe much of what you say.

If you were to say to me, “I love your idea but I think you need to re-think parts of it.” I would know that you didn’t love my idea.  In fact, you probably hate my idea.

But means the opposite is true.

This isn’t something you need to take my word for.  When was the last time someone said but to you?  Did you find it a positive statement?  I bet you didn’t.  I bet you thought that it was a put down or a slap in your face.

Get over this thought - when you use the word but people don’t find you polite.  They find you are playing politics and aren’t being truthful with them.  I believe you’re always better off disagreeing with someone if that’s what you mean to do. 

Learn to use the word and.

If you want to move the conversation along, learn to use the word and.  Instead of saying, “I love your idea, but” think about saying, “I love your idea and here are some changes I would make.”  You’ll notice your sentence is softer and it forces you to tell the truth. 

Oh, there’s something I think you need to notice.  Don’t emphasize the word “and” when you say it.  If you do this, the person you’re talking will hear the word “and” just like the word “but.”  They won’t believe you like the idea because the truth is you don’t like the idea.  Telling the truth is always a better option.

But allows you to appear to be nice.

We think that but allows us to be nice and let people down softly.  In reality it allows us to be confused about what we’re hearing.  On one hand we might believe that you said you like our idea.  Deep down we know you don’t like the idea and we can tell ourselves a story because you haven’t been straight.

There is a difference between appearing nice and being nice.  I would rather be nice and tell the truth at the same time.

But is a patronizing word.

I find that when someone uses but in a sentence with me they are being patronizing.  I feel like they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

I don’t know about you I hate it when someone doesn’t tell me the truth.  I’m an adult and I can take it when you disagree with me.  In fact, when you disagree and we’re honest about it we’ll likely come to a solution faster.

Listen to the words that come out of your mouth!

It’s hard to understand how often we use the word but.  If you start to pay attention you might find that but comes out on a regular basis.  Listening to what you say and asking what the real meaning is will help you be more clear in your communication.

I find that when people can trust what I say it’s more likely that I’ll build trust with them.  When you sound like you’re trying to pull the wool over my eyes I automatically go to a defensive stance.  I just don’t like being taken advantage of.  When the word but comes into play I will go on the defensive. 

Do you get the idea that I don’t like the word but?

If you’re still with me you probably figured out that I don’t like the word but.  I really don’t like it when people aren’t honest with me.  I don’t like it when someone is playing politics with me.  I like to be able to easily understand what you’re saying.  If you insist on using the word “but” I’ll have a hard time figuring out what you really mean.

When I understand what you’re saying I don’t have to waste a lot of time.  I don’t have to try to figure out whether you’re trying to take advantage of me.  I can move more quickly in the work I do and build a deeper relationship.  Both are good things in my book.

I have put together a mind map on our client experience.  This map helps you understand what I believe is important in the experience clients have with us.  I find mind maps an interesting and efficient way to communicate.  You might also.  If you want to take a look at this mind map, click on the button below.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

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Topics: business coaching, cultural change, trust

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