I’m always intrigued when I find the same idea popping up in two totally different contexts. It makes me think the universe is saying, “Hey. Seriously. Think about this.”
This happened recently with the phrase “Yes, and…”. The concept comes from improvisational theater and the rule is, when asked a question or given a suggestion, you always reply with “Yes, and…”. I read the idea first in Parents magazine as a means of playing more creatively with your kids, and then found the concept again in Dan Pink‘s book on sales, To Sell is Human.
Using ” Yes, and…” opens the door to creative possibilities. It forces you to use your imagination and encourages participation. And it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
In trying to incorporate this idea into my own life, it has made me aware of how often I use the phrase “Yes, but…”. Where “Yes, and…” opens the door, responding with “Yes, but…” negates what the other person said and effectively shuts down the conversation.
When a team member approaches you with an unexpected professional development opportunity, how do you respond?
“Yes, but it’s not in the budget.”
“Yes, and we can review the budget to see if there are any extra funds available.”
Try using “Yes, and…” and observe how your professional interactions can be enhanced simply by your choice of phrase.
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