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Kick the word “But” away from your exchanges.

“I appreciate the efforts you made the last few months, BUT I need you to be more of a team player.” How familiar is this sentence structure? Whether you said something similar or heard someone say it.


Without paying attention, we start with positive input, pause, and use “But” with a contrasting feedback. As the person making the statement, our thoughts start with an intention to be helpful, provide positive input, or compliment. Then, we usually pause and fall into the trap of using the word “But” and diminishing the intended effect. As a receiver of such a comment, there is a high probability that we paid no interest to the first half of that sentence. We tend to focus on the statement that comes after “But.”


This small word can be mighty powerful in negating any statement before it. Listeners tend to judge the comments after the “BUT” with greater attention and importance.


An alternative to deliver the same message without canceling the positive impact is to use “AND “ instead: Our first feedback becomes, “I appreciate the efforts you made the last few months, AND I need you to be more of a team player.”

A Simple shift towards positive communication.


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