- February 4, 2011
- Posted by: EMS Communications
- Category: Presentations
A way of speaking that puts an upward inflection on the last word of a statement that makes it sound like a question when it’s not. (Common among teens and surfers.)
Unfortunately, Upspeak isn’t just for teens and surfers anymore. We hear it way too often in business settings by men and women of all ages. Urban Dictionary writes that Upspeak “perverts the English language” and “annoys the hell out of some.”
Imagine hearing this in a big sales meeting: “We’ve got some exciting new products? And some brand new services? We’re expecting big things out of you next year? So be ready? We can’t wait to get started?”
Believe your friends at EMS when we tell you-we’ve heard worse!
Upspeak is more than just annoying-it makes a speaker sound tentative and undermines his or her credibility. Similar to qualifiers (could, might, if, perhaps, etc.), the unintended question marks at the end of Upspeakers’ statements betray a lack of confidence, whether perceived or real.
Do you and your colleagues catch each other in Upspeak? By all means, get into a self-help program today to rid the habit before it’s too late! We recommend a four-step program:
- Own Up to Upspeak. Confess your tendency to Upspeak, and ask others to call you on it whenever they catch you actively Upspeaking. They can say something like “Are you asking me or telling me?’ Or, as we do during coaching sessions and workshops, have them simply reply “really???” using the same tone.
- Convert to Regis-Speak. TV personality Regis Philbin always gets LOUDER at the end of his SENTENCES. He’s out of CONTROL! Upspeakers frequently get quieter as they approach their question marks, so practice talking like Regis and you’ll sound more EMPHATIC.
- Slow It Down. Did you ever see the movie Valley Girl? The valley girls who got this whole Upspeak thing started also greatly accelerated their speaking pace, along with uttering an occasional “fersure” or “yaknow.”. When you make a conscious effort to speak more slowly, it will limit your tendency to Upspeak.
- Practice Talking Down. Whether reading to your kids or practicing for your next presentation, make a conscious effort to take your voice DOWN at the end of every sentence or thought. Then, pause briefly before the next sentence. Once you hear how good it sounds, you’ll wonder why you ever put “up” with Upspeak.