Use Words to your Advantage

You may have heard people being commended at an appraisal meeting. They feel so good until they hear the three letter word. Yes, you may have guessed it: BUT……. As soon as we hear that word, something very sad happens. It will simply delete all the good things that have just been passed on to the listener. What can be done about it? Well, “but” can be replaced by the word “and”. Just test how you feel in the following examples:

1. You did a remarkable work with the project at our big customer, you worked so hard and the results were incredible, but then………….
2. You did a remarkable work with the project at our big customer, you worked so hard and the results were incredible, and to make it even better, I would be happy if you make a little change in the presentations. Here is a suggestion:………

You may have the habit of using the word “but”. How about making an effort of replacing it with “and”? Of course there will be circumstances where it is OK to use “but”. It is also interesting that it can be used to create trust and loyalty and to make people feel special. This is the case when you say “I shouldn’t really tell you this but …. Or “This is a secret but I will give you some important details….

As observed in the above example number 1, we pay attention to what comes after “but” which means you can use it for drawing attention to something. Notice the difference in the following two examples:

1. He is always late for work but he is very good at his job.
2. He is very good at his job but he is always late for work.

This use of language might be great to apply for example during job interviews. A question may be asked about a certain qualification you don’t have. You could then say that you don’t have experience in that area, but that you have proved that you are very quick at adapting to new situations.

BECAUSE! Are you making use of the fact that people like to have reasons for what they do? An experiment by psychologist Langer illustrates the importance of because. People were lining up to use a library copying machine, and three different ways of asking for permission to jump to the front were put to the test.

The first “test” person asked, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the machine because I am in a rush? (94% success). The second person asked, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the copying machine?” (60% success). The third request was: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the copying machine because I have to make some copies?” (93% success).

The word because triggers an automatic response, even if no reason is given.

Enjoy your advantage words!

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