Mind Your But
Why did you say BUT?
When you use the word “but” while pretending to agree – you send the message that you disagree.
Consider these phrases and how you might feel when on the receiving end.
- That’s a good idea but…
- I agree with you but…
- I love you but…
Consider what your audience might think when you say but.
During this time of crisis – your words are examined more critically. The meanings are interpreted in terms of what your audience believes you meant.
What might this mean?
“We apologize for any inconvenience these changes may cause, but we promise, your best interest is at heart as we continue serving the needs of the community.”
An apology is offered, which is a good start, then it’s followed by a “but”. That suggests that they aren’t apologizing because they have a “but”. What follows after the word but is what they intended.
The word “but” in the middle of your sentence suggests a conflict between two messages. It also suggests that the second message is the more important message.
Examine this phrase.
“We hope everyone is concentrating on their safety and wellness right now, but we are here if you need us.”
Do you hope everyone is concentrating on their safety? If so – why add a but?
But means I disagree.
But means I have a better idea.
But means you’re wrong.
Stop butting into your message.
Stop using the word but.
Instead, use the word “And” if the ideas are mutually supporting. Or simply make it two distinct sentences.
©George Torok is The Speech Coach for Executives and creator of Superior Presentations. He coaches executives and trains professionals to deliver Superior Presentations.
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