Beware of Low Power Talk

May 8, 2015 Uncategorized 0

Women tend to use a verbal style called “mitigated” speech that is more collaborative and

cooperative (Don’t you think we should…”) or that deals with disagreement in terms that

make it easier to swallow (“I can see why you might think that, but…”).

Mitigated speech is the polite indirect talk that experts associate with a lower power

person talking to someone of higher status.

When they want to get a group to do something, women are more likely to use mitigated

language and say, “Let’s” or even just drop a hint (“I wonder if”) rather than exert their

personal power and make a direct command or ask a clear, specific question.

Men tend to have more hierarchical groups than girls and tend to use explicit language to

get what they want, like “Give me” or “I want.” Men also tend to challenge, disagree and

interrupt more.


While women’s way of talking in more polite and community minded, it’s not always the

best communication choice. It depends upon the situation.

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