So, I appreciate this article in Slate.com by Christina Sterbenz. I understand the history and use of words by Galina Bolden, who studies communication. I feel leery about a business person suggesting how the practices of business use reflects the conversation of all of us. Rather, Galina Bolden’s examples for our use of “so” are clear and informative, the examples of which are something business meetings may need.
So is an important word.
It’s not like the word “like.” You know, like we all say it. That’s fluff.
It’s not like the word “well.” Well, … “Well” connotes dissension, a step back from the ideas, a disagreement and perhaps an unwillingness to go further with the understanding. It can close a conversation.
“So,” on the other hand, is an invitation.
For people in real discussions and conversations, ‘so’ is an important word. It asks the listener to consider your thoughts on the topic based upon what you have heard so far. It’s leaning in for more information. It adds a clarification question, or a discovery. It says “pay attention.” It deepens the conversation. This little word is part of my linguistic history. Beowulf begins with ‘So.’ Its meaning and my use of it is why my blog is entitled, “So. Consider…”
So use this word as one that engages your listeners to consider and continue the conversation: it’s an invitation for better understanding, a vital nuance from a small word.