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[Short] How the word “but” destroys your connections

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Using the word “but” – especially when giving complimentary feedback – can absolutely destroy the message. “But” is an abbreviation for “be out”. In other words, you’re saying that whatever came before the “but” is now out; “but” throws away and disregards whatever came before it. If I say to you, “Oh you did a really good job but you screwed up that little thing over there,” you don’t even remember the bit about doing a good job. You dismiss that entirely, right? All you hear is criticism. The word “but” is not really the problem, it’s the order in which things go around the “but”. By making a habit of reversing that order, your feedback can be much more powerful and so much better received. Put the positive last rather than first. Emphasize that the criticism is the least important point. If I say, “You did one little mistake right there, but overall you did an excellent job,” you’re more likely to receive the positive. Just making that reversal can totally change how people hear your feedback.

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One Response

  1. I’ve found the best way to deliver feedback is actually to keep positive and negative separate – 2 different conversations.

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