If we want people to listen, we must banish “but” from our vocabulary. How many times has someone told us how well we have performed — and we were feeling good about the feedback, listening carefully — then we have heard “but,” and the positive, energizing part of the feedback was lost in the “but” and what followed it. “But” is nobody’s friend — listener or speaker. “And” provides the graceful transition, the nonthreatening bridge to mutual appreciation, the communication that builds effective relationships. Replacing “but” with “and” is the best advice I could give to the leader who listens and wants others to listen with an open mind.