Responding to Yes-Buts

Goal: Build your skill at responding effectively to yes-buts

Estimated time: 15–20 minutes

Together with a partner, do a role-play to practice responding to yes-buts. Here are the steps:

  1. Think of a real situation in your life or work where your opinion conflicts with someone else’s opinion. Describe the situation to your partner, who will role-play that other person.
  2. State your opinion.
  3. Your partner yes-buts your opinion.
  4. You respond with three builds, plus a broad question that incorporates your concern.

When you’re done, switch roles with your partner, and repeat as often as you’d like.


  1. Situation: I just received a bonus and want to put the money into savings. My wife thinks that the family needs a vacation together, and that my bonus should go toward paying for a trip instead.
  2. Me: We should deposit my bonus in our savings account. (Opinion)
  3. Partner (role-playing as wife): I know it’s important to save money, but with you working such long hours all the time, what we need more than anything is a family vacation.
  4. Me: It’s true that I’ve been working long hours; I feel really drained lately. (Build #1) I’ve missed a lot of important events in the kids’ lives this year because of late-night meetings. (Build #2) Taking a vacation together could make a difference in our quality of life as a family. (Build #3)
    Do you see a way to plan a vacation that would still let us save some money and help replenish our savings? (Broad question that incorporates my concern)

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