Confidence is important when you’re trying to build credibility. If you don’t sound confident, it’s easy for people to dismiss or be sceptical of what you’re saying, however valid it may be. One vocal habit that undermines your credibility is uptalk, the tendency to speak as though you’re asking a question.
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Many of us are guilty of this, and sometimes it’s so subtle we don’t even realise we’re doing it. Magnetic Speaking explains exactly what this is and why it can kill your credibility:
You might intend to say “Walk all the way to 148 Townsend.”
But you might sound like “Walk all the way to 148 Townsend?”
And your listener will not know if you are giving them directions or asking for them. The awareness of “uptalk” is critical for you if you are in a leadership role or working on getting to that level. How you sound with your statements will determine if people believe you or not. If you uptalk every declarative sentence, people will read it as uncertainty and lack of knowledge.
I didn’t realise I did this until a stranger pointed it out to me. Again, in some cases, it’s a blatantly obvious habit. For example, like many people, I hate answering the question, what to do you do? You usually have to answer a series of half-hearted follow-up questions about your job, it can feel like an interview, and it just generally makes me uncomfortable. So when I answered this question, I’d often uptalk: I’m a freelance writer?
That’s easy enough to nip in the bud. But sometimes, uptalk is so ingrained in the way you speak, you don’t even realise you’re doing it. I noticed whenever a customer service rep asked me to verify my social or phone number, I’d uptalk my answers like questions, too.
Not that sounding credible is especially important in either of those situations, but it did make me think about how often I’ve done it in interviews, when giving advice to a friend, or while negotiating. Magnetic Speaking shares a few ways you can get rid of it:
- Develop some awareness of the times you use uptalk
- Consciously practice saying declarative statements in private (So that you get used to it )
- Always work on developing your sense of certainty — this is a huge one for me and I always work on it. Certainty is a muscle and you have to use it for it to become strong.
This is useful advice, especially the last tip. But one quick fix that helped me was visualising a period at the end of my sentence. It sounds silly, but it drove home the fact that I was communicating a sentence, not a question.
This isn’t to say getting rid of uptalk will automatically, indefinitely make everyone find you more credible. But it will certainly make you sound more confident, and that goes a long way.
Stop Uptalk To Boost Your Credibility As a Leader [Magnetic Speaking]