This is a simple, straightforward communication technique that you can use immediately to improve your ability to connect and communicate with others:
Use “and” more than “but”.
Imagine that you and I are in a conversation and that you have just shared your opinion with me.
Compare these two responses that I might make:
- “You know, that’s a good point, but …”
- “You know, that’s a good point, and …”
With the first reply, it almost doesn’t matter what I say. I have probably triggered a natural defensive mechanism. Even if what I say is positive, you probably have a bit of a defensive posture in receiving what I am about to say.
The second reply creates a more positive lead-in to the second part of the statement. Even if I offer a slightly different interpretation of the facts, I have avoided triggering defensiveness early in the process so that you might receive what I have to say with an open attitude.
As I think about the times I am tempted to say “but” rather than “and”, I see that the vast majority of the time my real message is an “and” message rather than a “but” message.
One little word substitution can yield huge benefits in communication effectiveness.
So, remember to use “and” more than “but”.