Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Honey, I Love You, BUT..."

The word “but” is one of the most misused words in the English language… not from a grammatical standpoint, but with regards to the intended meaning of the speaker. This abuse happens mostly while handling objections, giving feedback, presenting an opinion and during the course of a normal conversation. Here’s how NOT to use the word, “but”:

  • “Honey, I love you, BUT you drive me crazy when you interrupt every time that I’m talking.”
  • “Mr. Customer, I know that you think this is expensive, BUT it really isn’t.”
  • “That was a very interesting point, BUT I have to disagree with you.”

Here is a way to make the above messages more powerful (starting by removing the word “but”):

  • “Honey, I love you! I would love you even more if you give me a chance to finish my thoughts before giving me your answer.”
  • “Mr. Customer, I understand that your initial reaction to the price is that it’s expensive. Some of my most loyal customers initially felt the exact same way. Here’s what they discovered when they realized what this solution could do for them…”
  • “That was a very interesting point. Here is a different perspective that I submit for your consideration…”

Sales professionals, politicians, news people, leaders, parents, etc. stick “but” right in the middle of most statements because they think they think that 'filler-word' is necessary. All that does is damage the impact of their real message. The next time that you feel the desire to say "but", consider leaving it out and see if your message is stronger and more positive.

(Note to you fellow college graduates: “however”… “although”… “nevertheless”… “on the other hand”… “still”… “though”… and “yet” are just as bad!)

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