Remove Your Buts

#rapport, #leadership, #communication

"When you 'but' someone, you put yourself out of rapport with them.
When you are out of rapport with them, you can't motivate or inspire them."

Imagine if someone whose opinion you value said the following to you:
"You've done a good job but you could have done better with this part."
"I know you've worked hard but I've worked hard too."
"I understand what you are saying but what I think is..."

How would this look and sound to you? Would it uplift you or leave you feeling disheartened or even angry. In all of these situations the word 'but' devalues your contribution; the word 'but' actually negates what was said before it. When someone 'buts' you, they put themselves out of rapport with you. It acts a bit like a 'kick up the butt' and not in a motivating way!
Of course, like most of our communication, it is deeply subconscious. Remember that a huge 93% of our communication is subconscious, so using 'but' means we may not realise we are offending someone, and they may not know exactly what occurred, except that they felt bad or things looked or sounded not quite right to them.

I have mentored managers and coaches who have taken themselves from average motivators to excellent ones simply by removing their 'buts'.
As a manager, parent  or leader it's more powerful and effective to replace 'but' with 'and'. For example:
"You've done a good job and you could have done better with this part."
"I know you've worked hard and I've worked hard too."
"I understand what you are saying and what I think is..."

Using 'and' enables you to still give feedback where needed, maintains the rapport in your relationship and keeps both of you empowered.
Words are powerful. They can demotivate and disempower, and they can also motivate and empower. Which one would you rather do? Which one do you think would best lift your performance and that of the people around you?

Did You Know? Did you know there are many specific words you can use to empower yourself and the people around you? You can find out more in the MP3 Audio File Talk Yourself Into it - The Power of Words.

Carol Fox