The “but” activity

When you say the word “but” after saying something nice to someone what you are really saying to them is “ everything I said up to the “but” was a lie and here comes the truth”.  For example:  “The girl is beautiful but tall” what you are saying is the girl is beautiful but too tall. But if we change the word “but” with an “and” the meaning becomes much more positive “the girl is beautiful and tall”,  to build better rapport it is generally advised to replace the word “But” with an “and”

 Pair up participants where each pair is tasked to have a conversation where one person starts suggesting anything to his/her partner where the partner has to respond by saying, “yes,but…” and finishes the sentence. The first person then responds by saying “yes, but…” and finishes his sentence.

The conversation has to continue back an forth in the same manner for one whole minute.

Once the minute is over, ask the same teams to have the same conversation again only this time each sentence has to begin with “Yes, and….” Let the conversation continue again for one minute.

For example: each team member makes a suggestion about an outing. The other team member replies with “yes, but” to begin his sentence. Here is an example: “I hope we get to eat Italian;” “yes, but I hope we get a day off;” “yes, but I want to go swimming.” 

Now the partners exchange the words “yes, but” with the word “and.” For example: “I hope we get to eat Italian;” “and I hope we get a day off;” “and I want to go swimming.” Did the change in two words change the meaning and feeling of the statements?

Debrief and ask questions like:

How did it feel to hear “but?”

(Annoying; defensive; competitive; etc.)

How did it feel to hear “and?”

(Accepted; listened to; respected; etc.)

Why are we so accustomed to saying “yes, but..” so often?

Did the change in the two words (but/and) change the meaning and feeling of the statements?