Want a challenge? Try changing one word.

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Three years ago, I attended a conference in Portland, OR. I still think about that conference as it taught me a few things I still use today.

One of the conference topics is how a single word can change the impact of how you communicate, and how you are seen as a communicator.

That one word? ‘But’.

In the following years, I’ve been attempting to use ‘and’ every time I feel myself saying “but”.

“Yes, we can do that. But we should also think about…”

“Yes, we can do that. And we should also think about…”

It’s simply changing a closed statement to an open statement. And it makes a world of difference to the receiver of the message.

While I’ve been much better at swapping ‘but’ for ‘and’, I can’t help to get tripped up from time to time.

And when I do, I make sure I acknowledge the transition so others know I’m being intentional.

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