Some words pack a powerful punch in how they affect the message from all the other words strung together before or after them. What are these words? They’re usually the conjunctions like and, but, and or. For Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers who grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, you probably have a little song playing in your head right now.
Conjunction Junction, what’s their function?
I got “and”, “but”, and “or”,
They’ll get you pretty far.
Although our body language and tone of voice are major influencers in how we communicate, choices in simple words can change the message. You should be sensitive to use the right one for the right intent. My favorite conjunctions are and, but, and because, and each provides a very different message.
And is the connector that keeps the conversation going and the ideas building. You’ll see the masters of improv exclusively use this word to allow the following person to continue with the next idea. If frequency were an indication of people’s favorite conjuntion, I would guess it would be but. “I hear what you’re saying, but…..” or “I like your idea, but…” But is the perfect word to negate everything that was said before it. Sometimes I don’t think people even realize what that one little word does to the previous speaker. And then there’s the conjunction because.
Whereas and keeps the conversation going, and but invalidates the idea before it, because blends the power of the and with an assumption of action. What are your thoughts of each message?
- “I like your idea about forming a small task force to address the problems with the manufacturing process, but I think it’ll take too long to get all the people who have expertise in the same room at the same time.”
- “I like your idea about forming a small task force to address the problems with the manufacturing process, and we’ll need to consider how long it will take to get all the people who have expertise in the same room at the same time.”
- “I like your idea about forming a small task force to address the problems with the manufacturing process, because we have the expertise. We’ll need to get all these people in the same room at the same time.”
Most people don’t pay much attention to their conjunctions. How about you? Hopefully, you might be more selective in your next conversation.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com