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There are two words that are poison in conversations with other people.  They are but and however.  Both words have a truly poor connotation.  They both reverse whatever you were saying before.

If you say, “I love your idea but we need to think about this and that” you have just told the person you really don’t like their idea.  Instead if you say, “I like your idea and could we consider this or that” you have completely changed what the meaning of your statement is.

If you say, “I like your idea however there are some other things we need to think about” you have again told the person I really don’t like your idea.  When you say, “I like your idea and we might need to think about something different” you are validating their idea.

And is a good way to link the idea and let the person know you’re speaking with that you need to think other parts of their statement through.  It doesn’t say to the person that you don’t like their idea.  You are saying that there are other things to consider that might add some value.

It’s taken me a long time to figure out that sometimes changing one word can mean a whole world when speaking with someone else.  Both but and however cut off conversation.  The word and tends to bring out more conversation without telling the other person their thought is wrong.

Words count.  We spend way too much time not paying attention to the effect that our words have on others.  If we want your communications to count, then you need to spend more time thinking about what the meaning of the words you use have on others.  I know the more I do this, the better I’m able to communicate.

What would you rather have; a statement that really says you’re wrong or one that says let’s talk more about this?

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Topics: communication, enterprise value, innovation, value

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