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Wednesday
Feb082012

"Yes and" Not "No But"

Did you ever notice that some people say, "No," when they actually mean, "Yes." Listen carefully. Do you say, "Don't forget..." when you really mean, "Remember..."

When we say, "No," when we mean, "Yes," we could subtly shut down, or dim a relationship we are trying to nurture.

In business and social situations, the more we can respond, "Yes," to the people around us, the more likely we will earn acceptance and cooperation.

© Ted Goff, http://www.TedGoff.com and http://newslettercartoons.com, used with permission.

When we say "but" we negate everything before it. "You delivered a touching, entertaining speech, but you could project your voice more."  With your butt in the way, the speaker can remember only, "You could project your voice more."

In business and social situations, the more we can respond, "Yes, and" instead of "No, but" to the people around us, the more likely we will earn acceptance and cooperation.

But...er, and what do we do if we really mean, "No?" We still respond with a yes. Say, "No," in a yes kind of way.

"I think our furniture needs to be neon pink - it's much brighter."

Is your response No or Yes?

"No, pink doesn't work. You need to pick another colour."

"Yes, I can see how neon pink would brighten the room and perhaps we can find a way to make pink coordinate with the other colours or find another colour to brighten the room if what you are after is brightening the room more than necessarily using pink."

Which response validates validates the person who wanted pink?  Yes, of course.  "Yes" validates and accepts the other person; "no" rejects the other person.  "And" augments the other person's thoughts; "but" rejects them. Say yes and be open.

Twitter users @Culture_Jammer and @JenniferBulman let us know that how people interpret head nods and shakes "depends on culture. Headshaking can be a sign of high approval. The Greek gesture for 'No' is an upwards nod."

We investigated further. This article at The Straight Dope describes the differences among cultures and provides more details between the culture-specific interpretation of head nodding and head shaking: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/619/why-do-we-nod-our-heads-for-yes-and-shake-them-for-no

Know your audience!

Craig Senior

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