How “Yes, but…” can kill a conversation

One of the most frustrating things in conversations when you are enthusiastic about something. You do a proposal, and the other person says: “Yes, but…” and then shares his own ideas. It feels like your idea was rejected. In a polite and friendly way, but still… rejected.

In this episode I speak with Renita Kalhorn. Renita is an executive coach, working with leaders and their teams to perform on top of their game. She is based in New York and Paris and works with top-level companies to strengthen their leadership. She also works with Special Ops and Navy SEAL candidates, strengthening their mental toughness and leadership skills. Renita has an MBA from INSEAD, is a trained concert pianist, speaks fluent Japanese and holds a martial arts black belt.

I read an article from Renita on the “Yes, but…” response and decided to try to get her on this podcast, as her observations were spot-on. We speak about what happens in our brain when somebody responds with “Yes, but…”, and explore the effect this response has on the other person. More importantly, we explore what alternative responses can be used to be more effective in our conversations, and how improving our listening strategies can be key to build more meaningful interactions with others.

At the end of the episode I speak with Els de Maeijer, researcher Communication and Innovation at Fontys University of Applied Science in The Netherlands, who reflects on the interview and puts the insights in context. The podcast ends with practical tips to enhance the clarity of your conversations, in the office and at home.

For more information about Renita Kalhorn, check her website.

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