Have you ever heard the saying “Everything before ‘but’ is bulls**t”?
I.e “The project is going really well… but… I need an extra week to finish it” or “I really like you… but… I don’t think you’re right for the job” or even “You’ve put together a great business case… but… you were unsuccessful.”
Believe me, I could go on all day.
Even when ‘but’ is substituted for any number of synonyms such as although, however or yet, it still rings equally as true.
Many see it as simply an unconscious way of being polite, sparing someone’s feelings or avoiding any unnecessary conflict. However, in reality what it can do is shut down an opportunity to have a real discussion, get to the bottom of an issue and work to a mutually agreeable solution.
As I see it, a big part of my job is about opening up discussions. That is why I recently resolved to never use it again.
And since then, what I’ve discovered is that making this one conscious change has already had a positive impact and opened up some really interesting discussions.
You might want to try it yourself.
Author: Cameron McIver