Workplace: And Or

And: A word used to connect things or ideas that are to be taken jointly. Such as “peanut butter and jelly” or “Did you bring the budget spreadsheet and team calendar?”   

And: Used to interject an idea into another sentence: “We were planning to meet online – and the technology shut down right before the meeting – which had been working fairly well until today.”

Or: A word used to link alternatives or options. Such as “would you like a cup of tea or hot water?” “Shall we meet in person or via technology?”

Or: Used in place of the word otherwise. “Log in now, or you’ll miss the webinar.”

A colleague recently commented on product marketing upon discovering that a purchased shower curtain/liner was an and product rather than an or product. One side of the shower curtain has a clothlike texture and the other side has a plastic coating. Thinking the product was something that could be used as an or curtain; he hung the clothlike side facing the shower head. Mildew followed because the water was getting trapped between the cloth and plastic. Upon discovering the and nature of the product, the cloth side is now facing out and the plastic side faces the shower head. Simple solution. Yet, the product packaging did not make clear how to install the shower curtain for greatest effectiveness. An all plastic curtain could be used as an or product. However, a two-sided product is an and that has a definite inside and outside. Does your team consider and or language in product descriptions? What can you do to message more clearly to consumers?

When asked “would you like to read or write the presentation”, some people reply “Yes” because they live in an and world rather than an or state of mind. And world living means that many things are possible. Or world thinking means there are limits. Sometimes there are limits to what can be done. Other times, an and approach is possible and worth exploring.

What and thinking would improve your team’s work?

What or thinking will support your team’s work?

Workplace: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. – Jana

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