Words that Kill Conversation

As I said to my classes today – I am not just a teacher of Media Studies, I’m a teacher of life. A little nugget I stumbled upon today was an argument from  that the words “no” and “but” kill conversation:

These words don’t say, “Let’s discuss this” or “I’d love to hear what you think about this” to people. They say, unequivocally, “You are wrong and I am right.” If your conversation companion is also dedicated to his need to win at any cost, you will have a potential battle on your hands. The result? Nothing more can happen that will be productive.

I’ve already started self-monitoring this – and it’s not good. This is something that is really interesting to reflect on: how open am I to hearing the other person’s point-of-view? This connects back to Jennifer Abrams’ workshop on having hard conversations where a big part of the day was spent unpacking the power of language and the power of the words that we use.


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