Women: Prepare for a CEO interview by honing your use of language

Start practicing these techniques months ahead.

Communication, language, and linguistics styles used by women in CEO interviews have more of a chance of producing a critical assessment or unwanted outcome than those used by men. Preparing for a CEO interview is an ideal time to increase attention to linguistic practices to produce positive assessments from the search committee. I recommend starting months before you walk through the door to the interview!

Communication style vs. competency

Communication style in an interview has a heavier weight than experience and education. An impressive and relevant resume helps you to get an invitation to an interview. However, presenting yourself with confidence increases the chance of receiving an offer letter.

By style of communication, I mean the sociolinguistic practice of how a confident person speaks and is heard. Using the right words is just one component of the language of leadership. Communication styles include timing, pace, tone, inflections, punctuation and pausing. Cultural backgrounds influence the types of stories told and questions asked. Cultural upbringing informs our awareness of context and relevance of the context as we share our responses and ask our questions in the interview.


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