Can eliminating one phrase from your vocabulary can make you more successful?


Most leaders don’t think too much about the words to come out of their mouth. What if a slight tweak to our vocabulary could help us become more successful?


Bernard Roth, a professor of engineering at Stanford University suggests we change a simple word to our spoken communication, in order to become more successful.


ACTION: Say, “and’ instead of “but.”

Professor Roth suggests that we often sabotage our communication when we use the word “but” directly after making a statement.


For example: “John, I liked the contents of your report. However, there were quite a few spelling mistakes and typos.”


In this example, even though you might have praised John for his report, you’ve just undone everything you said by now emphasising the fact his report was full of small errors. That’s the problem with the word “but”; it usually undoes everything that you just said.


So try this instead: “John, I like the contents of your report. And, I think if next time you write the report, you took more time to check for any grammar errors and typos. You would be getting close to mastering report writing.”


The word “and” is less “direct” than the word “but.”

This simple yet powerful vocabulary tweak is based on a key component of a problem-solving strategy called “design thinking.”


By tweaking the words we use when we speak, we can change the impression that we create when speaking to others. So next time when you feel like saying “but,” instead, replace that word with “and…”

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