Gender Balance

Published: 05 December 2017

Are you hitting the right tone with your thought leadership?

We ran content through an online tool that detects the gender characteristics of language. The findings suggest a clear preference towards a male tone of voice in thought leadership content produced today.



Linstock has uncovered new evidence that firms could be hampering their ability to achieve a key thought leadership objective – collaboration – because of the tone of voice in their written content.

Analysis of 100 pieces of thought leadership shows that the majority of firms use a typically male tone in their written work. This is an assertive style that often discourages engagement.

Academic studies show that male communication tends to be assertive, using language that is typically dominating and more forceful.

Meanwhile, studies show that women are more likely to use ‘affiliative’ language – seeking to connect and associate with the reader – in an attempt to be collaborative and inclusive.

The fact that thought leadership content leans more towards the male voice – top down, forceful, unequivocal – is arguably undermining the ability of the content to nurture interaction and collaboration. Two factors that previous research has identified as primary reasons for doing thought leadership in the first place.

It is critical that firms consider using more traits identified as typically female and adopt a mixed gender approach to meet their goals. To do this may require rethinking some of the writing techniques considered hallmarks of good copy in communications today.

In this report we unearth fascinating differences in tone of voice between different industries, and offer five steps towards achieving a more gender balanced tone in your thought leadership content.
Download the report:

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