“It doesn’t matter how friendly your tone is or how honey sweet you are in a conversation,” Marshall Goldsmith writes for LinkedIn. “When you start your sentences with one of these words (or both), the message to your recipient is, ‘You are wrong.’ What are these conversation stopping words?”

“They are ‘No’ and ‘But’.”

Think about how many times you probably use these words without even realizing it. Two TINY words could be killing your account service. You could be turning your clients off without even knowing it!

“These words don’t say, ‘Let’s discuss this,’ or ‘I’d love to hear what you think about this’ to people,” Goldsmith explains. “They say, unequivocally, ‘You are wrong and I am right.’ If your conversation companion is also dedicated to his need to win at any cost, you will have a potential battle on your hands. The result? Nothing more can happen that will be productive.”

Make this your personal challenge: For one week, keep a scorecard of how many times you use “no” or “but” to start a sentence.

“Stop trying to defend your position and start monitoring how many times you begin remarks with “no” or “but.” Pay close attention to when you use these words in sentences,” Goldsmith advises. “For example, “That’s true, but…” (Meaning: You don’t really think it’s true at all.) Another oldie but goodie is “Yes, but…” (Meaning: Prepare to be contradicted.)”

“You will be shocked at how frequently these words are used. And, if you drill a little deeper, you’ll see patterns emerge. For instance, some people use these words to gain power. You’ll see how much people resent it, consciously or not, and how it stifles rather than opens up discussions,” Goldsmith says.

“Along with self-monitoring your behavior, you can also easily monetize the solution to this annoying behavior to help yourself stop. Ask a friend or colleague to charge you money every time you say, “no” or “but.” Once you appreciate how guilty you’ve been, maybe then you’ll begin to change your “winning” ways!”

Kick these barriers out of your vocabulary now – no buts about it!