According to a paper published recently by professor Cynthia Rudin, Ph.D., and Been Kim, Ph.D., researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, "yeah" is the most persuasive word for getting a proposal or suggestion accepted at a business meeting.

根据来自麻省理工斯隆商学院的两位教授,Cynthia Rudin 博士和Been Kim 博士最近发表的论文,想要在商务会议上获得计划书或意见通过,最有说服力的词汇是“没错”。

"We looked at data from 95 meetings," Rudin tells Yahoo! Shine. "We wanted to examine if persuasivewords even exist." The researchers began their study with some skepticism and were surprised to find that, again and again, the word "yeah" was correlated with success. The researchers did not analyze vocal enthusiasm of the speaker but simply the number of times words were correlated with a positive outcome.

“我们研究了95个会议的数据,”Rudin 告诉雅虎!Shine频道,“我们想看看究竟存不存在有说服力的词汇。”这两位研究者带着疑惑开始了他们的探究并惊奇地发现,“是”这个单词被一遍又一遍地与成功联系在一起。他们仅仅研究单词出现的次数与正面结果的关联,而没有分析说话者声音中的情绪因素。

Wouldn't you like to make your next meeting more constructive? Productivity could be only four letters away.


According to the study, "In the United States alone, an estimated 11 million meetings take place in a given day." As most workers know, meetings can eat up hours of each working week, and managers spend between 25 and 50 percent of their time each day convening with their colleagues. "If we understand general things about meetings," says Rudin, "such as how to make your meeting more effective, it helps us plan ahead and be more productive."

根据这项研究,“仅在美国,每天就有1100万的会议在进行。”正像每位工作者知道的那样,会议会占去一周工作中的数个小时,经理们每天将25% 到50% 的时间都花在召集他们的员工上。“如果我们对会议有基本的了解,”Rudin说,“比如如何使你的会议变得有效力,这将会帮助我们提前计划并更具生产力。”

Analyzing the language used in meetings, the researchers asked, "Are there patterns in suggestions that are accepted versus rejected? Can we use this to improve how we present ideas to the team?"


They found that, indeed, adding "yeah" to a proposal made the idea "come across as if it were in line with previous thoughts by others," which gives it a greater shot at being accepted. An example might be, "Yeah, the color black would be a great way to go," when you are first proposing that color. The authors mention that a key principle in Dale Carnegie's 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People was to let people think the idea was theirs.


The word "yeah" came into common use around the turn of the 20th century as a casual way of saying yes. Interestingly, "yes" didn't even appear in the study's top 20 most persuasive words. Rudin suggests that is probably because "yeah" is now used more frequently in conversation than "yes." It also is perhaps a more nuanced word and less of a directly affirmative answer to a specific question.

“没错”在20世纪初被开始广泛使用,用来代替正式的“是”。有趣的是,“是”在说服性词汇的研究中连前20都没有进。 Rudin提出者可能是因为“没错”在会话中比“是”使用的频率高。“没错”或许相对于“是”来说是一个更为微妙的词,而不是一个直接、肯定的对具体问题的回答。

The second and third most successful words, according to the authors, were "give" and "start." "Give" was used in the context of offering something to a customer or adding something to a product, and also to "indicate suggestions are based on previous data" —for example, "given these parameters."


The word "start" builds alliances, especially when used early in meetings, and provides an opportunity for the group to agree on basic suggestions —for example, "How about we start with the key issues?"


The authors say that the science of meetings is still in its early stages and that they plan to design more studies and digdeeper. One key goal is to help people communicate more effectively and make wrap-uptimes more predictable. Shorter meetings? Hell, yeah!