Uptalk has received a lot of attention when discussing female speech patterns. This phenomenon originated in the 1970’s and 80’s in Southern California and was called Valley Girl talk. However, this conversational style is not limited to females.
What is uptalk or upspeak? It is the rising inflection at the end of declarative statements making them sound like questions.
Uptalk is appearing in the workplace on a regular basis, particularly with Millennials. The prevalence of uptalk in their speech, both male and female, made me take pause. Why are they doing this?
What can you do about it? First, identify it. Record yourself. When you introduce yourself, are you making a statement or a question?
My name is Lynda Katz Wilner ↗ and my company is Successfully Speaking ↗
My name is Lynda Katz Wilner ↘ and my company is Successfully Speaking ↘
A questioning or rising inflection often tells the listener that we are unsure or tentative, or perhaps, not finished with what we want to say. However, to sound more definitive, end your statements with a downward pitch.
And here is the caveat………….we may choose to intentionally make our statement a question in an attempt to sound collaborative with our listener or to come across less authoritative.
We’ll meet at the end of the week? ↗
In summary, be mindful of uptalk and use it judiciously, if at all. There can be a time and place for it depending upon your intention. Remember overuse of any speech pattern can become a distraction.
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