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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Nydick

Never and Always

You are never ___________.

Fill in the blank.

How does that feel?

It depends on how you filled in the blank, doesn’t it?

If you filled it in with “on time”, then the statement sounds like an attack.

You are always ___________.

Fill in the blank.

How does that one sound?

It also depends on how you filled in the blank.

If the filled in word is ‘late’, you want to start citing the times you weren’t late.

When we are referring to someone’s negative behavior, avoid the always and never because always and never are rarely accurate. If you want to have an effective dialogue, start by explaining something positive.

Instead of saying, ‘you are always late’, consider this: When you join our weekly meetings from the start, the conversation is more dynamic because the others really appreciate your ideas. What do you need so that you can arrive earlier?

When you lead with how they have a positive impact, and then ask what they need, the response will more likely start an engaging dialogue. That is a better choice versus the attack and defend conversation.

Avoid using never and always unless it truly is.



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