The Power of Talk

Who Gets Heard and Why. by Deborah Tannen

THE HEAD OF A LARGE division of a multinational corporation was running a meeting devoted to performance assessment. Each senior manager stood up, reviewed the individuals in his group, and evaluated them for promotion. Although there were women in every group, not one of them made the cut. One after another, each manager declared, in effect, that every woman in his group didn’t have the self-confidence needed to be promoted. The division head began to doubt his ears. How could it be that all the talented women in the division suffered from a lack of self-confidence?

In all likelihood, they didn’t. Consider the many women who have left large corporations to start their own businesses, ...

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