How can C-suite execs boost earnings? Talk like your CEO

Members of the C-suite can earn higher salaries and potentially obtain seats on their organizations' corporate boards by parroting their CEO's language style, according to a May 2018 study cited by

For the study, researchers at the Houston-based Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business and the University of Miami Business School in Coral Gables, Fla., analyzed more than 2,300 companies' conference calls with investors and security analysts between 2002 and 2013.

The researchers examined CFOs' "language matching style," or the unconscious form of imitation using specific function words like "I," "we," or "us." Researchers found that the longer executives worked together, the more CFOs came to parrot the language their CEOs used, but the opposite typically did not hold true.

While the study specifically examined the CEO-CFO dynamic, researchers said the idea of language-matching would likely apply to other members of the C-suite.

"For instance, given that chief operating officers and CFOs have a low level of power imbalance and thus neither side has a strong incentive to ingratiate the other, COO-CFO language style matching may reflect their social bond, which might impact strategy implementation," the study authors wrote.

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