Meetings. Most of us despise the very thought of sitting through another meeting, chalking it up to a waste of time. But, that could be due to meeting leaders simply using the wrong words.
MIT found that the words “yeah,” “give,” “start,” “meeting” and “discuss” have a larger impact than all others, according to Business News Daily.
Those five words were associated with more successful business meetings than any other words. They often lead to “high persuasiveness” and a “desired response”.
Virtual meetings are no different. In fact, it’s arguably more important to use success-driven words in virtual meetings because attention-spans of participants might be compromised by distractions at home, in coffee shops, or from where ever the participants are.
And, as people increasingly connect through remote communication like video conferencing, these 5 power words are important elements in successful meetings.
Powerful words in meetings are words that suggest progress, conclusions, or inclusiveness. For example, “start” and “discuss” imply actions and imminent decisions.
“To use these words effectively, you need to know how and when to sprinkle them into the conversation. The study outlined the effect of each word during various parts of a meeting,” the report cited.
The word “yeah” indicates agreement or acceptance and helps to set the stage for a productive discussion, especially among participants who might be looking for a fight or expecting disagreement in the meeting. In addition, using “yeah” as a way of changing the subject helps to acknowledge the change in a positive way and helps to draw a clear path toward the new topic.
“Give” has a way of focusing attention toward the person speaking. Experienced speakers use this power word at the beginning of their speech or report as a way of spurring excitement.
Similarly, “start” is attention-grabbing. “It lets everyone know the time for waiting and chitchat is over and indicates they should begin actively listening, as the business of the moment is about to proceed,” the report said.
Cleverly, using the word “meeting” implies that the conversation is powerful, important, and useful, which can also imply to the participants that they, too, are powerful, important, and useful. Also, if the virtual meeting is getting off-topic, using the term “meeting” can also help to redirect the conversation back to the meeting’s original purpose. For example, “This meeting is getting a little off-track”, or “Let’s refocus on this meeting”.
Lastly, “discuss” is a calming word that lets participants know that differing opinions are welcome and encouraged during the meeting. “People pay more attention when they feel they are included,” said the report. “Calling any communication within a meeting a “discussion” creates a camaraderie that makes it more likely that everyone will feel welcome to add their own views.”
Try using these 5 powerful words in your next virtual meeting to help encourage focus, positivity, and control in a way that makes participants feel welcome and valued.