Watch Your Language Series (Part 4) – Don't Let Your BUT Hold You and Others Back!

How often do you find yourself giving feedback on a daily / weekly basis?


Maybe a team member has completed a project and is looking to you for feedback. Maybe you need to complete a performance review. Maybe it is more simple than that and your child, your partner or a family member is seeking feedback.


Go on, think about it! I suspect you give feedback a lot during a day or a week.

Now that you have answered that question - consider this question. How often do you answer the request for feedback by stating something like:

  • This is a really good idea BUT you missed out x or y.

  • Your performance this year was good BUT you failed to achieve your target.

  • That dinner was lovely BUT it could do with some more seasoning.

When giving feedback we think we are doing great things by starting with a positive and when adding the word “BUT” means all we actually do is negate the positive compliment we have given.


The word BUT can get peoples hackles up …it screams, you are good BUT not good enough. As a result the receiver only hears the negativity and this can be very demotivating for them and detrimental to the relationship. They can feel undervalued and disrespected. Allow it to continue unchecked and it can be detrimental to any relationship.


Instead try using the link word “AND” for a more effective conversation.

  • This is a really good idea AND it could be improved by considering x or y.

  • Your performance this year was good AND if we focus on hitting 100% of your target next quarter you will be better.

  • That dinner was lovely AND some seasoning could bring out more flavours.


By a simple change in your language, you can STOP alienating people from seeking your feedback and START motivating others to seek your counsel. CONTINUE to observe how feedback is given and notice the change.


Don’t let your BUT hold you back!


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