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The power of the word but

The power of ‘but …’
According to Robert Cialdini, author of Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the word “but” says to recipients in all human languages to take the information they just received, put it away and focus your attention on the next thing I’m about to say. “This is why we want our weaknesses before the word ‘but’ and our strengths after,” he said. “The weakness has to go first, otherwise you don’t get the proper focus on the strength.”

The top marketing campaigns of all time employed this strategy. He points to Volkswagen as an example. Each ad began with the same statement “We’re ugly, but …” Then they talked about gas economy, reliability, and availability of parts through a network they had set up. Other examples, according to Cialdini, include, Avis‘ “Avis, we’re No. 2, but we try harder;” and Loreal’s “We’re expensive, but you’re worth it.”