Thanks to MT's recommendation, I just attended a 3-day senior planning meeting without saying the word 'but' at all (and yes, I still contributed). I definitely feel it was a more positive relationship building experience than some of the previous similar meetings.
I decided to count the number of 'but's and who said them and when. This helped by constantly reminding me not to say 'but'.
Just for reference:
- 'But's increase later in the day as people lose their concentration and good behaviour suffers.
- 'But's increase more on the 2nd and more again on the 3rd day as people get tired, and uncomfortable and good behaviour suffers.
- Those who are considered the more difficult to work with definitely say 'but' more than those who everyone likes to work with.