This is an expression I coined long ago – when working as a sales manager at Yellow Pages.  Apologies to those of a sensitive nature for the graphicness (is that a word?) of the headline.   However, it is true.

Once you consciously acknowledge this fact (which you subconcsiously already know) it can help you do 2 very important things.

1.  It will help you see through the excuses that others give you

2. It stops you from falling into the trap yourself in your communications with others.


So – lets look at number 1.


Have you ever heard any of the following??

– I was going to do my homework but….

– I did read your proposal but….

– I would love to hire your company but…..

– I was planning to do that this morning but….

– I would like to meet up for a coffee this week but…


So – now you are on the no bs page – you know that what they actually meant to say was

– I had no intention of doing my homework because playing Sims3 is far more interesting

– I didn’t read your proposal because I am not really interested in what you have to offer

– I wouldn’t hire your company if it was the last one on earth

– I totally forgot to do that so I will pretend that I got too busy and will do it another time

– I have far too much to do to waste time on a pointless meeting


On the basis that you now know what ‘but’ in the middle of a sentence means – and how it sounds to others you need to rephrase your communications – to your clients – to your staff – to your kids / loved ones.  So here are some things you should never say – and an alternative suggestion!

Yes that may seem expensive to you (Mr/Mrs Client) but that’s because…… 

I appreciate that may seem expensive and let me tell you why it is priced that way.

We intended to meet that deadline for you but 

It is not our normal practice to miss deadlines – and here is what we intend to do about it.

Yes, I know I said we could go to the park but it’s raining cats and dogs

I know we were planning to go to the park and we can still go when the weather cheers up, meanwhile lets….


Using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ as the filler puts everything in a completely different context.  It is no longer bs, it is not combative, it doesn’t sound like an excuse or a justification, but as a reasonable explanation.  It is solution focused.  Your ability to reach harmony with your clients and therefore have them buy from you more easily will improve – and it may even help with arguments with the kids / other half!!


So – my tip for the day – rid yourself of the word ‘but’ and your business will thank you for it.

Till next time