You’re in a heated discussion with your colleagues. You need to make a decision and move forward collectively.

What one word will help you reach alignment? And.

When I strongly believe in my position, it is all too easy to counter the other person’s view with a firm, “BUT……” However, if I use “AND” instead, my argument stands on its own merit. I reduce the conflictual tone and set everyone up for success.

Here’s an example:

“I want to hire 7 new interns in the fall, and you’ll train them.”

“I think that interns are great value, and I can’t train them during that time frame. Josie would do a great job with the interns.”

“What? You’ve always trained and supervised our interns.”

“Yes, and given the strategic plan priorities, I need to focus on the customer needs survey. Would you like me to speak with Josie and help her prepare?”

Try reading through this scenario replacing the two bold “ands” with “buts.” Those two short words make a dramatic impact on the tone of the discussion.

Using “and” instead of “but” decreases the confrontational aspect and boosts the authoritative tone as well. You are able to state the facts and defend your position without sounding oppositional. Now, that’s powerful communication – packed into three letters!


Need some help communicating for alignment? Contact Humanergy.

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