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Mindell, Phyllis, Ed.D., How to Say It for Women: Communicating With Confidence and Power, Using the Language of Success, 2001.

Much recent work on speech patterns in the workplace has focused on gender differences. A good bit of evidence suggests that differences in the way men and women communicate may be one factor in the “glass ceiling” that slows the rise of women to top jobs.

In a series of books, Dr. Phyliss Mindell has argued that on the job language is power. In this guide, she describes how women my undercut their own success by using the wrong words or gestures and creating an impression of uncertainty.

One problem, she says, is that women are more likely than men to start sentences with the word “I.” She says that using “I” statements will weaken you because this phrasing:

  • Blames you for issues that aren’t yours,
  • Implies that you’re not sure of the facts,
  • Suggests inadequate leadership,
  • Makes you sound immature, even childlike, and
  • Confuses your message with irrelevant emotions.
The book does contain tips that can be helpful to men as well as women. Its weakness, however, is that it wanders off the topic to provide a cursory treatment of side issues like how women can dress for success or read more broadly.
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