What exactly is “uptalk” and is it unprofessional? Put simply, uptalk is the tendency for some speakers to use an upward inflection on the end of their sentences so that everything sounds like a question. Uptalk or “upspeak” is often associated with the way teenagers talk in Southern California but is no longer limited by geography.

Surprisingly, uptalk has become a somewhat controversial communication topic.

On one side of the argument, some people think it is perfectly acceptable. One way speakers use uptalk, for instance, is to continue their talking turn. When their voice goes up, it signals that they are not yet done speaking and it helps them maintain a bit of ownership of the communication. Another way speakers use it is to make their point with an invitational and less argumentative sound. Still another function is to check for understanding, support, and to make sure listeners are following along.

On the other side of the argument, critics say it sounds young, insecure, unprofessional, and annoying. A study covered in the dailymail.com entitled, “Want a Promotion? Don’t Speak Like an Aussie,” showed that 85% of supervisors thought uptalk would hurt an employee’s chances of receiving a pay raise or promotion.

In other words, even if we personally believe uptalk is not a problem, it may be hurting our credibility with listeners.

See the video for some simple tips to reduce your uptalk.

Originally published here.

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