Your “but” dressed in a tuxedo… is still a “but”

Anytime you communicate a verbal message that is positive to another person, and follow it up with a “but…” you deflate the message you just sent to that person. When your employee, staff, spouse, service provider, etc. hears the word “but,” they wince because they know there’s more coming. Key take – away: the word “however” although it may sound less brash is a disguised “but,” dressed in a tuxedo.

As an alternate approach, try using the word “and.” Example: “I appreciate the quality of work you’ve put into this project, and it’s important that we keep to the deadline moving forward. How can I best support you so that we stay within our time frame?” Notice here, that the sender of the feedback ends with a question of how s/he can be of service to the other.

Giving candid feedback to someone can be tricky, especially if your intention is to maintain relational harmony. Generally, people appreciate feeling valued and can “hear” your feedback when they are not put on the defensive, and when the tone of the communication exchange feels cooperative. The pronoun “we” communicates collaboration/cooperation when used genuinely, adding to the over all intent and tone of the message.