These two little words: “and” and “but” seem similar, are both conjunctions, but there are actually some very different times when you will want to use either one or the other to be effective as a leader and a communicator … and when you get it wrong there can be some painful repercussions.

Listen to the video to get much more detail:

Let’s start with “AND.”

It’s a conjunction that is: 1. used to connect words of the same part of speech, clauses, or sentences, that are to be taken jointly, like “bread and butter” or “rock and roll.” or 2. used to introduce an additional comment or interjection. O.K got it. The two things go together and should be taken together.

When you use AND in a sentence (or speaking) you want people to remember both ideas you are communicating. It’s also a softer way of adding something to the end of the sentence that has less resistance by those hearing it than using other conjunctions.

And … now “BUT” (see what I just did 🙂

It’s a conjunction that is: 1. used to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting with what has already been mentioned, and 2. used after an expression of apology for what one is about to say.

Subconsciously there is something very interesting with the word “but.” Since we know it is used in contrast or apology, we literally forget or discount what is said first. That’s where the whole idea I teach of “reversing your buts” comes into play.

When you have difficult news to share, don’t put it at the end of the phrase like most people do, e.g. “you did a really great job on that project Jason, but I wish you’d do this differently.” All I remember is the last part. The compliment doesn’t register since “but” is an apology and negates the compliment. In fact most people are conditioned so that if they hear a compliment from someone they expect to be asked to do something and tune it out.

Instead “reversing your buts” is switching the order of the sentence. “Next time I’d like you to do this and this different Jason, but you did a really great job.”

I now walk away feeling more positive and a deeper relationship connection to you, since you complimented me, but you still delivered the message of how I can improve.

This one little leadership and communication hack will make a big impact on your effectiveness.

When you are ready to take your leadership and communication to a whole new level, join the Briefing Leadership Program where you will learn ninja tricks just like this to take your career to a whole new level. Learn more and register at:

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