Can you remember a time when a friend said something potentially nice and then used the word but? Did your heart sink a little, did you feel that they didn’t really mean the compliment?
‘Hey I love your new hair cut …. but…’
‘I love you … but …
‘Well done, you did a great job of that …. but….
‘That’s a beautifully shaped composite …. but ….
‘But’ negates whatever precedes it. The word BUT negates or cancels everything that goes before it and is generally accepted as an indication that the really important part of the sentence is coming up.
Before I knew this, I would complement my nurses for a great job and remind them that the surgery needed to be stocked and I was surprised when they seemed a little grumpy and felt unappreciated.
‘Guys, you worked really well today….. but…. can you make sure the surgery is stocked up please?’
By using the word ‘but’ they didn’t hear my complement and gratitude, which was genuine.
I was also guilty of doing something similar to my children as well.
‘Sweetheart, I love you…. but ….. can you be a bit quieter please?’
‘Brilliant results 9 A’s…but….what happened with the B in geography?’
The Hidden BUT: there are a couple of ways that we create the same effect, the words
‘however’ and ‘yet’ can have the same impact.
I enjoyed your presentation … however …
You made sense of that … and yet ….
Ok, so what to do instead?
You simply replace the word ‘BUT’ with ‘AND.’
- ‘Guys, you worked really well today….. but…. can you make sure the surgery is stocked up please?’
- ‘Sweetheart, I love you…. but ….. can you be a bit quieter please?’
- ‘You are doing a great job… but …I’d like you to be more involved in team meetings’
- ‘You could crown the broken tooth but a filling is a cheaper option’ (guess what your patient will choose to have done)
- ‘Guys, you worked really well today and can you make sure the surgery is stocked up please?’
- ‘Sweetheart, I love you and can you be a bit quieter please?’
- ‘You are doing a great job and I’d like you to be more involved in team meetings’
- ‘You could crown the broken tooth and a filling is a cheaper option’
Using ‘AND’ gives equal weight to both parts of the sentence.
Use ‘BUT’ with purpose or ‘on-purpose’
Whilst I encourage you to watch your buts carefully, I also want you to be aware of when you can use it purposefully. If you know that one treatment option is better for your patient than another choice you can ethically influence them to make a better choice.
In Sales – use ‘BUT’ to negate a product or service whilst emphasising the better choice.
‘You could fill that tooth BUT a stronger option would be to crown it.’
‘You could have a denture to fill that gap BUT you will have to take it out to clean it AND you don’t have to do that with an implant.’
‘You can pay over 10 months BUT you can have a 5% discount when you pay in full up front.’
Action Point: 10 years ago my 8-year old became the BUT police at home. She would playfully catch us out when we used it. With time and practice we became much better at changing our language AND using it on purpose. Please practice this language skill and be your team’s BUT police!!!
Self-Motivation – Flipping your BUT.
Often, we can talk ourselves out of doing something beneficial by using ‘but’ in our self-talk. To increase your motivation and your results try flipping your but sentence, it’s not some gymnastics move yet it will help you perform better.
‘I really need to go for a run BUT it’s raining’ – do you think I would end up going for a run? - no
So, by flipping the sentence in my head to:
‘It’s raining BUT I really need to go running’ , I have a complete change in focus and motivation. I am moved to find a solution for running or exercising rather than sitting down in front of the TV.
Action Point: practice flipping your motivational buts and see what changes you get in your results.
Having read the information above, please take it into your practice/home and have a play with it. You will experience the positive results I know you will get and you are welcome to join me on my training programmes to learn more from ‘The Confident Dentist’ company. Influencing Smiles is a live 2-day Sales and Communication training course and Influencing More Smiles is a 3-day advanced Sales and Communication course. www.theconfidentdentist.co.uk.
The thing about NLP is that when you learn it from me, I am really only making you consciously aware of what you unconsciously already knew. Together we just share the information in a way that we can begin to make different choices in order to serve ourselves and others better.
I look forward to working together soon.
All the best