How do you turn a tense conversation into a constructive conversation?

One of the easiest ways to shift a tense conversation into a much more collaborative one is to intentionally replace the word “but” with “and.” Almost immediately the conversation shifts from one of escalating conflict to collaboration.

Here’s how it works.  The other person makes a statement and you respond by saying something like “Yes, but….”  The “but” almost immediately puts the other person on the defensive because they feel as though you have discounted everything that they have just said.  They in turn respond “Yes, but…”   The cycle escalates.

Instead, replace your “but” with “and.”  Now your response is “Yes, and….”  This simple shift in language validates what the other person has just said and invites the other to collaborate.

Go ahead.  Give it a try.

All the best to you,


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