Thursday, August 21, 2014

Instant Credibility Boost 001 – Do not uptalk

From the 1983 movie Valley Girls

This is the first in a series of instant credibility boosts: techniques for rapidly increasing your professional credibility by demonstrating that you are an intelligent, knowledgeable and prudent grown-up.

Boost 001:  Do not uptalk

Uptalking (demo here) is the habitual use of “a rising note of apology or inquiry” at the ends of declarative sentences. In other words, making all your sentences sound like questions. For example:

Declarative sentence
“Hi, I’m Jason, from the PR department.”
Declarative sentence, with uptalking at the end
“Hi, I’m Jason, from the PR department?”
The hearer wonders: “Isn’t this guy sure of where he works?”
Declarative sentence, with uptalk at the end and in the middle
“Hi, I’m Jason? From the PR department?”
The hearer wonders: “Isn’t this clown even sure of his own name?”
What’s so bad about uptalking?

The affectation was started, in the early 1980s, by valley girls (pampered bimbos living in the San Fernando Valley of California). Since then, many other girls and women (apparently wishing to sound like pampered bimbos) started uptalking, too. Recently, even a few men have started. But intelligent grown-ups disdain the affectation and refuse to imitate it.

One lawyer explains it to his witnesses this way: “If you uptalk on the [witness] stand, you will sound like a valley girl, which means you will sound like an idiot, which means you will not be a credible witness. Do not uptalk.”

The Takeaway: Uptalking will make you sound fatuous. To find out whether you are uptalking, record a few of your phone calls and meetings (where legal) and listen to yourself. If you are uptalking, stop. If you are not uptalking, congratulations; don’t start. Best wishes.

See disclaimer.

No comments:

Post a Comment