The Xooglers blog (ex-Google folks talking about their time at Google) has a page of words that you’d hear around Google and how they’re used.  Mostly typical stuff, but there’s one I think needs a little extra note.

So…” uttered in a meeting isn’t just clearing your throat, it’s an attempt to gain the conversational semaphore.  Rather than launching into your point and risk a collision with someone else, you say “So…” and look for the second of silence that shows people are listening to you before you start talking.  I’ve noticed this recently in meetings at Adobe and it seems effective.  “Well…” is used the same way. 

Actually I think we need a word for this - the throwaway word you use at the start of a sentence to test the state of the conversation before you begin speaking.  I’ll call it a Starter.