By Tom Vanderbilt in The New Yorker Magazine, December 16, 2012
Analyzing "Jeopardy!" episodes for instances of "uptalk," or speaking with rising intonation, Thomas Linneman, a sociologist, found that it was more common in women and in incorrect answers.
Perhaps the real discovery, though, was that some women used uptalk even when winning and answering correctly. Linneman wondered if they were "engaging in a compensatory strategy...to perform their gender 'correctly.'"
_________________________________________Women are at a disadvantage when they communicate "like a woman" in a male-shaped corporate culture, and 81 percent of women are now "adopting a style with which male managers are comfortable."
Sound like some ridiculous regression of feminism, catering to male-chauvinism?
Talking like a man matters.
"A woman needs a male coach," says Agno. "Otherwise she won't have a good idea about how the other gender thinks and feels. It's still a man's world in business. Women need to learn how to talk like a man. They need to learn how to brag. They'll get what they want out of the situation by molding to the environment."
Women have, characteristically, been conditioned to speak a certain way, according to Agno. "They tend to end sentences on a high note, which implies, 'We really want to talk this over,' instead of a low note, which is more of a command."
Along with shaky vocal inflections, Agno says women aren't specific enough about their contributions to the company. They use too many words, downplaying their abilities. In the male mind, this behavior creates doubt.
Communication styles rooted in childhood training or unconscious beliefs can be tough to change. A first step is becoming aware of how you talk at work. Here are some pitfalls that women especially can encounter in the workplace:
--using too many words to deliver serious messages
--downplaying your contributions
--using vague language
--phrasing statements as questions
--using an upward inflection at the end of statements, which indicates doubt.
Working with an executive coach can help you to be clear on the communication style at your level within the company and to confidently practice this style so you will be heard at work.
Source: Lansing State Journal, June 22, 2006, http://www.lsj.com/