OK, I have a confession to make … I am a “but” head. I use the word “but” way too often in my conversations so trying to eliminate it from my vocabulary is my resolution for this new year.

2015 goals in wood typeWhy is “BUT” a bad word??

“But” is one of those words that immediately causes the hair on your neck to bristle. It’s a cliff to something negative.

Here’s an example I read online:

“I just read your report and I think it’s very interesting. It’s well-written and thought-out. But you are missing a key idea.”

How does that make you feel when you hear it? A bit defensive? Like there’s bad news on the way? Perhaps you want to stop listening?

Here’s an alternative way of saying the same thing … without the “but”:

“I just read your report and found it very interesting. It’s well-written and thought-out and if we were to add a few more sentences on (fill in the blank), it would be ready to distribute.

Wow … didn’t that feel a whole lot better … more positive? Even encouraging?

Isn’t it amazing how restructuring a sentence to eliminate one three letter word can make such a difference?

It’s much easier said than done though … so this new year’s resolution will take some work.

Here are some suggestions to help me:

  • Use the word “and” which is a much more positive word. That’s what changed in the example above. Think of what you want to convey in its entirety – rather than it two separate parts.

Other helpful “bridge” words are:

  • while
  • therefore
  • however
  • though

So, let’s try another example:

I know you want to go out to dinner, but if you don’t finish your homework, we won’t be able to go.

“I know you want to go out to dinner and as soon as you finish your homework, we can leave.”

Wow … what an improvement that second version is. I’m hooked and really looking forward to trying out my new skill in 2015.


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