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Yes, but...

A little communcation secret that works!

Nantucketers are an interesting bunch of people. They can be very progressive at times, and at other times, not so much. Some of us like the "old" ways of doing things, and struggle with accepting or even hearing new ideas.

Here's something to consider the next time someone makes a suggestion:

Use "yes, and..." instead of "yes, but..."

Many times when hear a suggestion, you might counter with a "but."

  • I like your idea for the meeting, but...
  • Thanks for your thoughts about our new program, but...
  • I hear your suggestion, but...

Can you feel what that "but" does to the conversation?

It creates defensiveness, sounds a tad harsh, or gets you ready for a negative reaction. While that may sound harmless, the reality is that that "but" can get in the way of having a useful and synergistic conversation.

The suggester, instead of listening to the feedback, will many times go into what I call "defense mode." They start thinking of how they will defend their idea rather than listen fully to the thought being shared.

There is a very simple solution to this potential communication block.

Use AND, instead of BUT.

  • I like your idea for the meeting, AND have we considered...
  • Thanks for your thoughts about our new program, AND what do you think about...
  • I hear your suggestion, AND how about...

Can you feel the difference?

Try it, you might like it. Even more, the people suggesting ideas will like it even more.

What tips do you have about encouraging honest and open communication?