We asked a speech therapist how to break your annoying uptalking habit
It’s when your voice goes up at the end of a sentence
by Amy Albinson
Uptalking is the annoying rising inflection at the end of a sentence which turns your statement into a question. Everyone does it – from Surrey girls to boys up north.
70 per cent of employers would mark down applicants who uptalk because it is ‘a clear indicator of insecurity’ and Stephen Fry admitted to hating it.
Amongst people uptalking and using fill words helps with blending in has become the new way people are apologising for talking. In conversation we experience being interrupted and spoken over way more than men and our use of uptalk is contributing. If we are not sure of our own ideas why would anyone else be?
So how the hell do you stop? We spoke to Speech Therapist Megan Sutton for advice on how to take the first steps in leaving that uptalking behind.
‘The first step in changing anything we do is to be motivated to change. Why do you want to change how you speak? Does it make a difference in how you’re perceived or how you feel about yourself? Without motivation, change is nearly impossible.’
Record yourself speaking to be aware of when you uptalk
‘A good way to become more aware of when you’re up talking is to record yourself speaking. Everyone hates listening to themselves, but it’s an important step to increase awareness. Make a note every time you hear yourself do it on the recording.
‘Try recording at different times – when you’re talking with friends, when you’re reading out loud, or when you’re giving a presentation. Notice what’s going on at the times you’re up talking. Are you unsure of yourself? Are you talking to someone with more authority than you? Is it on the end of every sentence or only at certain transitions? Is it when the people you’re talking to are doing it as well? After learning to identify it in recordings, start to notice it when you’re speaking. Can you hear or feel when you’re about to do it? Can you recognise when it’s likely to happen? Once you’re aware of when you engage in the up talking behaviour, you can then start to change it.’
‘You can practice speaking sentences with intonation that doesn’t go up at the end. Make a list of the sentences you heard yourself saying using upspeak, then say them all again without it. If this is difficult, you can practice saying sentences both ways so it becomes clearer to you which way is your target, and which way is your old habit.
‘This is called negative practice, and it helps to build control over your voice as well as increase awareness. Once you’ve mastered speaking without uptalk in sentences, you can move to paragraphs, and finally to conversation. A speech-language pathologist can help with this structure and practice, providing feedback and personalized analysis and strategies.’
Make a new habit
‘Now when you hear yourself using uptalk, you can immediately repeat what you’ve said without it. With practice, you’ll start to use the intonation you want – the one that sounds like you’re making a statement rather than asking a question – when you’re paying attention to it. Over time, this will be the new habit and you won’t have to think about it.’
So take her advice and if you have something to say don’t sound tentative or unsure – if you have confidence in your words then everyone else will.
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