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Champion Leadership Blog

Do This Instead of Using “BUT” to Transition to Communicate Like a Champion

Great comments on Tuesday’s blog article on “Losing Your ‘BUT’ is Hard” – if you missed it you can read it here.

I promised to offer some alternatives to responding to someone with a “BUT” phrase so you have an idea of how it’s done.

“BUT” (and its cousins ‘however’ and ‘although,’ among some other euphemisms) is a hard habit to break.

This pattern of communication becomes ingrained at a very early age.

Here are some typical phrases that often come with “BUT” transition language to make a point:NO_BUT

“That’s a great idea, Bob, but it will never work here because we’ve tried things like that before.”

A better way to respond to Bob would be:

“That’s a great idea, Bob, and I’m concerned because we’ve tried similar things in the past that haven’t work out well, let me share some of them with you so you understand the problem.

Now, if you really don’t think it’s a great idea, don’t say it.

It is okay to be candid and direct to let the individual know, in this manner,

“Bob, thank you for sharing that idea, I appreciate the thought and effort you put into it and based my experience it’s just not appropriate for this situation and here’s why I say that…”

Another favorite is when someone asks for a raise who in your mind absolutely doesn’t deserve it and has no sense of their level of value. Here are two options:

“I can appreciate you’d like a raise and that you think you deserve one and based on what I’ve both observed and the specific results you’ve achieved thus far, it’s not warranted. Let’s review your performance for the last six months and see how I can help you over the next six months so we can get you a raise.”

Remember, not using “but” as a transition doesn’t mean you agree with the individual or that you can be direct and candid to make your point.

It simply means you are using language that is more empathetic, understanding, respectful and compassionate. And, you should provide more justification so the other person understands where you’re coming from.

This style allows you to keep the other person’s mind open allowing for a more respectful, constructive dialog that has a better chance at building and/or maintaining a trusting relationship.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to continue this conversation.

’til next time, Communicate with Power,

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