Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Want A Promotion? Then Don’t UpSpeak!

Source: Bernard Marr

Up-speaking is increasingly common. However, a recent survey reveals that it can be very bad for your career!
Upspeak, Uptalk or HRT (High Rising Terminal) describes a speech pattern where someone ends his or her sentences with a higher pitch (or upward inflection) similar to the way we would do when we ask a question. The problem with this is that it turns any statement into a pseudo question, which in turn makes a person sound less sure, tentative and weak.
The effect of uptalk is almost as if we are questioning our own statements and therefore subconsciously tells our listeners that we either are not sure of ourselves or what we are saying, we feel inferior to them, or we are somehow seeking their approval.
A recent survey by the Pearson reveals that bosses find uptalk not only annoying, but the majority believe uptalk hinders the prospects of promotion as well as better pay grades in their organization. Here are some revealing stats from the survey (based on the responses of 700 male and female bosses):
  • 85% believe uptalk is a clear indicator of a person’s insecurity and emotional weakness
  • 70% find uptalk a particularly annoying trait
  • 57% confirmed that uptalk has the potential to damage a person’s professional credibility
  • 44% stated that they would mark down applicants with uptalk by as much as a third
The numbers speak for themselves: Upspeak has no place at work. If you would like a thriving career, then simply don't do it!
At the same time, uptalk is one annoying habit that is spreading like a virus across the globe. Initially, uptalk seemed the language style of choice among many American teenagers (in that context sometimes referred to as Valley Girl Speak), but the uptalk epidemic is spreading fast. Now, we hear it among men and women of all ages and we find it across the U.S., Canada, Britain, and many other parts of the world. Oh, and Australia and New Zealand, but they are excused because uptalk (or in their case Australian Question Intonation) is simply the way everyone speaks – and because everyone does it, nobody is disadvantaged by doing so.
If you are still unsure what uptalk, upspeak, HRT, AQI - or whatever you want to call it - is, then the videos below should make this clear.
As always, I am interested in your views. Do you also find uptalk really annoying? Do you think it should be avoided at work, especially if someone wants to sound credible and is interested in career progress? Or do you feel we should simply embrace it at work, especially as it is similar to the Aussie accent, which many see as mild-mannered and consensus-seeking? What do you think?