If you say, “I would be honored if you would sit down,” you are signaling great respect—or great sarcasm, depending on your tone of voice, the situation, and what you both know about how close you really are.
If you say, “You must be so tired—why don’t you sit down,” you are communicating either closeness and concern or condescension.
Judgments about confidence can be inferred only from the way people present themselves, and much of that presentation is in the form of talk.
The CEO of a major corporation told me that he often has to make decisions in five minutes about matters on which others may have worked five months. But my field of research, socio-linguistics, suggests otherwise.
Whereas often we consciously consider what to say before speaking, we rarely think about how to say it, unless the situation is obviously loaded—for example, a job interview or a tricky performance review.
Linguistic style refers to a person’s characteristic speaking pattern.
Both men fail to realize that differences in conversational style are getting in their way.