I always share this information with design students, and every time I get a shocking reaction: In Microsoft, my Senior UX designer role consists of 20% designing and 80% pitching my designs, defending them, and strategizing (aka lots of meetings). UX design is a collaborative process by nature, where you need to work with other designers, developers, stakeholders, and users to achieve the best possible outcome. For this reason, it is a must in a designer’s toolkit to have some strong language tricks under your sleeve. The words we choose and how we use them can significantly impact the outcomes of our discussions and can be the limiting factor for our designs to reach implementation.

However, collaboration is not always easy. Sometimes, you may encounter disagreements, conflicts, or misunderstandings that can hinder your progress and affect your creativity. How can you overcome these challenges and foster a positive and productive team culture? One of my favorite managers of all time showed me the power of the magic words “Yes, and…”.

The Origin of “Yes, and…”

The phrase “Yes, and…” has its roots in the realm of improvisational theatre. It’s a fundamental principle that encourages acceptance and further development of others’ ideas. The improviser should accept what another improviser has stated (“yes”) and then expand on that line of thinking (“and”).

The “Yes, And…” technique is a simple but powerful way of communicating and collaborating with others, especially in creative and uncertain situations. The idea is to acknowledge and build on what someone else has said or done, rather than rejecting or ignoring it.

For example, if your teammate suggests a new feature for your app, instead of saying “No, that won’t work because…” or “Yes, but we don’t have the time/resources for that…”, you can say “Yes, that’s an interesting idea, and how about we also consider…” or “Yes, I like that direction, and what if we also add…”.

By saying “Yes, And…”, you are showing respect and appreciation for your…