Just say it; don ’t qualify it! Another technique employed by women more than men is the use of qualifiers. Here are some common qualifiers (in italics) used by women:
I was thinking, we could leave at 2 P.M.
It’s time to go, I guess.
It seems to me that is a good idea.
I wonder if we should pursue that contract.
Employing qualifiers is a way that women counterbalance being direct. Again, this linguistic strategy could be argued to serve as a technique allowing for input and consideration of other ideas. However, if the woman feels definite and does not want to appear tentative on an issue, she should eliminate the qualifier. Let me introduce you to my disclaimer: the ultimate mitigation.
Women often employ disclaimers in introductory remarks. Research has identified various types of disclaimers that serve different functions:
1. Suspending judgment. Function: Ward off emotional judgment. “ I don’t want you to get angry, but . . . ”
2. Cognitive disclaimers. Function: Avoid disbelief or suspicions of poor judgment. “ This may not make sense . . . ”