Writing 101, Day 14: Lose Your But

Dear But,

More people hide behind you as an excuse than you can imagine. Saying things like “I want to lose weight, but …..” , “I want to be debt free, but …..” , “I would love to spend more time with my partner, but ….” And, the list goes on.

If someone doesn’t have the desire or they are not 100% committed to making something happen, they hide behind you with their excuses. Please stop allowing folks to use you this way and tell them to get off their Buts and just do it.

Also, people unknowingly use you to negate everything that was said before. For instance, “I like your business plan but…..”, “I’m sorry, but …..”, “I like your new hairstyle but…”, “You did a wonderful job with this but….”

In each case it is likely the person speaking fully intends to be helpful or complimentary. However, they step on this verbal ‘landmine’ and it demolishes the message they are attempting to communicate when you allow them to misuse you in this manner.

Perhaps it would benefit them if you told them your first cousin ‘And’ would be a better choice for the job instead. There are more effective ways to use you in sentences as long as the speaker is aware of how it will influence the listener’s thinking. For example, volunteer to be used more when the speaker wants to acknowledge something negative but emphasize the positive alternative
 That wasn’t your best effort BUT I know you will do better next time.
 We’re certainly facing some huge obstacles with this project BUT I know we can succeed.
 OK, so we messed up BUT let’s learn from our mistakes and move on.

I know you’re probably thinking why the fuss about one little word especially me? I’ve noticed too many managers give excellent feedback and then sabotage it by adding ‘But’. I’ve received numerous complaints from too romantic partners saying their beloved will tell them how much they love them and then spoil the effect with a ‘But’. And, the most complaints are received from children who feel discouraged and like they can’t do anything fright due to the careless use of ‘Buts’ by teachers and/or educators.

Please remind your users, that the greater responsibility for the impact of communication belongs to the speaker. And, we would all benefit when they carefully decide when to use their ‘Buts’. We greatly appreciate you and your role in communication.
The Art of Positive Communication Department

8 thoughts on “Writing 101, Day 14: Lose Your But

  1. hey there! i’m loving your recent posts!
    I also blogged about “An Open Letter to the Man Who Opened My Eyes To the World”. How can someone give the whole world to you and in a snap they’re gone?

    here’s what my recent post is all about…

    would be so nice to hear from you! 🙂

    cheers! xx

    deanna ( http://www.talkaboutbeauty.wordpress.com )


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