In Monday Memo


“Yes, but…”

Most of us would be surprised – no, probably shocked – if we knew how many times we use the qualifiers “but”, “no” and “however” in a single conversation, never mind in all our conversations in a single day.

Worse is its impact on our conversations – we are subtly making ourselves right and everyone else wrong. It’s often an opportunity our ego just can’t give up.

Turning theory into practice: Here are two ways you can try to change this habit:

  1. For this week, try to catch yourself using these qualifiers, and replacing “but” with “and” – then try to reflect on the difference it makes to these conversations compared to the ones you had last week!
  2. A well-known international executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith, fines some of his clients $20 every time they say “but” or one of its similes in a session. Apart from making sizable donations to charities, it is a fun (and expensive) way to find out just how much one uses these words. So why not ask a colleague and/or your spouse to help you catch yourself saying these words and undertake to donate a specified amount per usage to a charity of your choice.

Monday Morning Perspective: “Stop trying to defend your position and start monitoring how many times you begin remarks with ‘no’, ‘but’ or ‘however’. Pay extra-close attention to those moments when you use these words in sentences whose ostensible purpose is agreement with what the other person is saying.” – Marshall Goldsmith

Kind regards

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