Sometimes the best learning comes from eavesdropping! Don’t you think? Here’s what I learned while having a chai tea latte at one of my favourite haunts . . . Two men in their 30’s, sat down at the table next to me. One man started speaking about a young lady whom they both seemed to know – oh it’s probably important for you to know the context . . . it was about some kind of software business. The one guy begins by saying, “Michelle (not her real name), is really great. She’s organized, responsible, works well with others . . “ and he continued for a little bit. I knew what was coming so I waited for it.
“. . . but she doesn’t know how to do some things. She has big gaps in her knowledge.”
Why? Because it effectively erased everything that preceded it. Yes, wiped those adjectives right off the planet! Vamoosh!! That’s what the word ‘but’ does.
Read these sentences out loud to see for yourself:
That’s not a great place for anyone. The conversation then has the listener defending their point or their work (whatever you are attacking), rather than being able to hear what your point is. Does that make sense? If you want to have better work relationships, better home relationships and generally have people want to engage with you (I think I covered everyone in that statement), replace your use of ‘but’ with . . . ‘and.’
If the man had said, “Michelle is organized, responsible, works well with others and she doesn’t know how to do some things,” it doesn’t take away from Michelle’s attributes. What he’s saying is, both things are true of Michelle. Notice the difference . . .
Significant isn’t it? The word ‘and’ doesn’t put you on the defense, does it? It allows you to take in the positive information (instead of erasing it) and then focus on the second part of the statement.
Over the next 24 hours, pay close attention to your conversations. Attempt to catch yourself each time you are about to say ‘but’ and instead replace it with ‘and.’ You might struggle and only realize later that you used the word ‘but.’ That’s ok, that’s how learning occurs. Also I invite you to pay attention when others use the word ‘but’ and the impact it has.
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Our workshop participants found Barb’s approach to teaching at the Centre for Professional Development to be dynamic and engaging. Barb not only taught effective communication and presentation skills, but also role modelled techniques throughout the day. Participants were excited to be able to apply learning’s directly into their day to day roles
Associate Director at the Centre for Professional Development, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.
Your plenary session was a real asset and a great contribution to the success of our National IPAC Conference. From beginning to end participants were energized and actively engaged.
Gwyneth Meyers BSc, MSc, PhD
Scientific Committee Chair
“The workshop was wonderful!! Barb walked the talk by continuously demonstrating the tips and skills she was teaching! It was amazing to see it all come together. I would recommend the workshop to anyone who has to present.”
Bev Waite, Education Lead-Nursing,
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
I told one of the nurse educators that it was the best 3 hours I have spent in a training session as the content was clear, relevant, exactly enough to be able to incorporate into presentations, and you demonstrated each point which was great. It was watching an expert at work.
Aideen Carroll, Advanced Practice Nurse Educator
Toronto General Hospital
Your workshop was also a big hit. It was interesting to hear people talk about it as not good, but great.
CMP Manager of Governance and Events CNA
After working with Barb, our team returned to work energized, enthused and inspired to utilize tools that increase our communication, clarity and relationship with not only each other, but also with the residents and families that we serve. I would highly recommend Barb if you want to bring out the best in your team.
Dale Clements, Administrator
Barb Langlois led a wonderful one day workshop for 45 Clinical Nurse Educators in Saskatoon Health Region. She worked with us in advance to really understand our learning needs, Six months later, I see CNEs using Barb’s techniques to engage learners and I use them myself in my own presentations. I strongly recommend Barb – she is a very skilled facilitator who connects with learners in a very meaningful and effective way.
Margot Hawke RN, BSN, MCEd, Nursing Professional Practice Lead
Saskatoon Health Region
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