Speaking with Authority – Two Things to Avoid

There are two speaking styles plaguing our business culture right now. The first is uptalk and the second is vocal fry. You need to avoid both. If you aren’t familiar with either of these terms, we’ll break them down for you.

Uptalk is the simple act of taking a statement and turning it into a question using an  upward inflection. It’s so bad in our business culture right now that some experts are beginning to call it an epidemic. I’ll even admit that I am an offender. If you were a fly on the wall the last time I was on the phone with my bank, you would find me stating responses as a question:

Customer Service Associate

Who am I speaking with?


My name is Scott?

Customer Service Associate

Date of birth?



I always intend to sound confident but every now and then I am thrown off by a question and answer it as a question rather than a confident response. This behavior is often referred to as Valley Girl talk where the presenter or speaker begins to be perceived as air heady or ditzy. The above example is obviously very low key but this habit plagues speakers everywhere at a much severe degree.

Vocal Fry
If uptalk wasn’t bad enough, vocal fry is an equally troubling epidemic. If you are not familiar with vocal fry, it’s when an individual use their lowest vocal register. Our vocal chords are comprised of 4 registers. The lowest is fry, then modal, falsetto, and finally whistle. And if you are curious about which register most people speak in on an everyday basis – it’s the modal range. Now the sad reality is that according to several recent studies, a lot of us are using vocal fry more often these days. In fact, according to recent studies, ⅔ of women use vocal fry on a regular basis. I’m also incredibly guilty. Talk to me early in the morning and I sound like a 14 year old kid. Call it laziness or tiredness, but when unaware, men and women do it. So, why is this happening. It’s hard to really know. It’s used a lot in by celebrities and the like but ultimately the responsibility falls back on the individual. Scientists have found that deeper voices make more money so the deeper the voice, the bigger the paycheck. The more vocal fry, the less authority so as presenters we need to take note.

So, how do you fix of these items. 2 things:

1. Listen.
Listen to yourself and others and focus on becoming more self aware moving forward.

2. Breathing.
Make sure you connect your voice to your breath. Focus on letting your breath come from your belly when you speak.

The good news in all of this is that uptalk and vocal fry can easily be avoided. It just takes a bit of self-awareness and intention moving forward.

The post Speaking with Authority – Two Things to Avoid appeared first on Presentation Mentor.

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