WORCESTER, MASS. WTB — WORCESTER, Mass. -- When Ann Richards, Texas governor and outspoken feminist, lampooned George Bush at the 1988 Democratic Convention, the last thing you'd have called her was tentative.
But new research suggests that women who speak assertively don't wield as much influence with men as do those who speak more hesitantly.
College of the Holy Cross psychologist Linda Carli asked four actors, two men and two women, each to tape-record an identical speech arguing in favor of charging a fare on student buses. They then recorded the same arguments speaking tentatively, peppering their speech with phrases such as "sort of," "don't you think" and "I'm no expert, but ..."