Who wouldn't want to find a set of magic words that could swing momentum to your point of view in a meeting? When I saw the title, like you, I wanted to find out more. But instead of a treatise of discovery all I saw was a brief review of some academic research gleaned from listening to hours of recorded meetings. Actually they had used machines to help them wade through the morass of spoken word to glean the short, but important results.
Sure it was important to see the results of their initial work, but more importantly the results were augmented by technology being an enabler. Finding that the five words were “yeah, give, start, meeting” and “discuss” was astounding to me. "Yeah" is a power word, what you say? It's such a common word, but apparently it does have more power in bringing people together.
So, what's the "take away" for those of us in the Built Environment business? For me it was we need to always be on the lookout for new and unexpected tools to help us discover the hard questions which seem so far beyond our abilities. Much like the linguistics, we are on the cusp of continuing to discover how more complex and pervasive data sources can make our lives more approachable and even better than before. Some call this the advent of "Big Data" but I think it's more fundamental and part of who we are as humans. Ever questioning the everyday to know why something works which seems unexplainable.
So keep your senses tuned and you are likely to find a serendipitous even happen right before your eyes. And don't forget, "Collaboration is the glue of success."
By Nick Heath
June 25, 2013, 6:27 AM PDT
Takeaway: Frustrated your ideas go unheard in meetings? Academics have identified the five words successful managers use to win backing for their proposals.
Everybody’s sat in a meeting where they felt like they were talking but nobody was listening.
But what if there were a sure fire way to get your colleagues to take notice? Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management examined what language is most likely to win over peers when used in meetings.
These were “yeah, give, start, meeting” and “discuss”.
The word may ‘yeah’ seems surprising as a persuasive word, but, said professor Cynthia Rudin, “when we looked at the way people were using it, we found they were using it to show agreement with something that someone else previously said. Perhaps if you frame a suggestion as if it were in agreement with others, it’s more likely to be accepted.”
While ‘yeah’ was most frequently used to garner approval, ‘meeting’ was most often successfully used to shut down discussion of a topic, she said.
“For instance, someone might say, ‘Maybe this is something for the next meeting,’ as a way of gently moving the topic onward without causing offence. That suggestion was almost always accepted,” she said.
“We’re just at the beginning of finding ways to use machine learning to produce tools for more efficient meetings. Since everyone wants their ideas accepted, it’s worth considering word choice in proposals. You don’t want to undermine your idea by not using the right language,” said Rudin.
This is another installment of collection of thoughts and reflections about how the Built Environment affects our lives.