I HATE big buts and I cannot lie…
No offense Sir Mix-a-Lot
Few words do as much to derail communication as the word “but.” Often, it sows discord and diminishes the value of the thoughts that precede it.
No better example than the prototypical “I hear what you’re saying, but…” (You can just hear the prolonged ‘u’ sound in but when you read that, can’t you?!)
Let’s face it, more often than not you might as well say “I’ve already discounted what you’re saying and have been sitting here silently, waiting to tell you what I think. Look at me, I’m such a good listener.”
Try something new. If you need to add to the conversation consider “yes, and.”
To point out inconsistencies try “and yet.”
Both promote an ongoing dialogue much better than a big ole “but.”
To clarify your position, you may not need anything at all.
Want an example? Check out my first comment.
How do you advance a conversation? Share your tips below.
Inconsistency: Instead of “I know you wanted Santa to bring you a pony, but you were such a naughty child”
Try “You had such a hard time making your bed each morning, yet you hoped for a pony.”
(amend it to your situation Literal Larry, you get the point. Play along here, will ya?)
Clarify your position: Lose the “I hear what you’re saying.”
How about “Thank you for explaining your position. I have a better understanding of how you think about this, and it makes sense why you do. I see it differently, is it ok if I share?”
See? No ‘B-T’ needed.