Is LIKABILITY a factor in your decisions to hire a job candidate, or award a contract to a bidder? Of course, it is! What about in your decision to follow or connect with someone on social media?

Research shows that when you smile, people are more likely to believe you are approachable, attractive, and trustworthy. According to research on LinkedIn headshots, a big toothy grin doubles your likability!

Andrea Wojnicki big smile

Are you smiling as you’re reading this?

Let’s talk likability!

3 things to Talk About this week:

1. Does “weak language” make us likeable?
2. We like Precision!
3. Learn to like to Speak Up & Stand Out!

1️⃣ Does “weak language make us likeable?

“I might be wrong, but…”
“We could maybe consider…”
“I’m no expert, but…”

What do these phrases have in common? They are all examples of “weak language,” something that women are often criticized for employing.

But according to psychologist Adam Grant, the well-intentioned exhortations for women to use more forceful language are misguided.

Grant highlighted research that showed that women who used weak language were more likely to be given raises or promotions, and were perceived as more likeable.

screenshot of Adam Grant's New York Times column, "Women Know Exactly What They're Doing When They Use 'Weak Language'" - gender differences in communication and likability - Talk About Talk

This article caused quite a stir when it was first published in July. 

It’s important to note that in identifying the possible strategic advantages of using weak language, Grant wasn’t advocating for women to conform to gender stereotypes. In fact, he explicitly called on us all to challenge those stereotypes. 

But he also acknowledged that using weak language can be strategic, and demonstrates underlying strengths.

So, does weak language make us more likeable?  The answer:

It depends on your gender.

Recently, I’ve been asking many of my clients, especially women, these two questions. And now I ask you the same:

  • On a PERSONAL level: do you employ weak language to be more likeable? 
  • At a SOCIETAL level: what do you think about this double standard?

I’d love to hear your take.

2️⃣ We like Precision!

For most of us, communicating with precision is not easy, but it is well worth the effort. Research shows that communicating with precision improves comprehension, recall, persuasion, and even likability. (This applies to people of all genders!)

Inc magazine Andrea Wojnicki

In my latest article for Inc. Magazine, I share three simple strategies to help you keep your communication more focused and concise – and you more likeable!

3️⃣ Do you like to Speak Up & Stand Out?

Do you like speaking up and standing out? Many of us don’t like the sound of our voice and we certainly don’t like to stand out.

If this is you, I have an opportunity to share.  In the month of October, I’m teaming up with my friend, executive voice coach Judith Weinman for an intensive one-month bootcamp:

Speak Up & Stand Out Oct 2023 bootcamp - Judith Weinman and Andrea Wojnicki

In this Bootcamp, you will join a small group of ambitious professionals, like you. Together we will:

  • identify our unique personal brand, including our superpowers
  • learntechniques to optimize our vocal presence
  • integrate our vocal presence with our respective personal brands so we can speak up and stand out in a way that is authentic and powerful
Use the promo code “TALK150” to save $150 off the bootcamp price.
(You’re welcome.)

Make this October the month you finally establish your true voice!

There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:1. Does “weak language” make us likeable?
2. We like Precision!
3. Learn to like to Speak Up & Stand Out!So – did you LIKE this email newsletter? Please email me or message me on LinkedIn anytime.
Have a great week
Talk soon,


Learn about 1-on-1 COACHING with Andrea,
schedule a free 20-minute consult.