How to get ahead at work: Say ‘yeah.’

From The Week:

A new study by MIT Sloan School of Management looked at language used in 95 business meetings to determine which words, if any, increase the likelihood of colleagues and bosses agreeing with a proposal.

What they found: The word “yeah” — not “accomplish,” “drive,” “results,” or other traditional “power words” — is incredibly persuasive.

“Yeah” is definitely the most surprising of the group. Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, says, “Words announce to the world how you feel and what you think about important workplace values like respect, commitment, accountability, gratitude, initiative, service, and excellence.” So how can a word like “yeah,” which hardly exudes accountability and excellence, get you ahead?

Dialogue segments where the word “yeah” is used include: “or yeah, maybe even just a limited multi-colour so it doesn’t look too childish,” “yeah, if you had one of those, just coming back to your other point about pressing the button and setting off the bleeper in the room,” “Yeah if you are holding it in your hand you could do that.” [Learning About Meetings]

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