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“Uptalking” Makes You Sound Confused and Unsure
22 February 2011, by , in Rants and Kudos, No comments

For those who don’t know, “uptalking” is when the speaker has a tendency to end any sentence on an “up” note, thus making it sound like a question rather than a statement. For example say to yourself  “This is the spot” and then “This is the spot?” The latter is an uptalked sentence.

The problem with uptalking is that it makes the speaker sound like they’re asking a question, even when they’re not. I had this experience recently with a trainer who uptalked. A question would be asked and he would answer with, what sounded to me, another question. For example:

Student: “So what data does that field hold?”
Trainer: “That field is the zip code?” (Uptalked)
Me (in my head): “Did he answer the question, or did he ask another question?”

In my experience, women do this more often than men, but regardless, if you uptalk, you’re not communicating clearly. And if you’re not sure if you’re an uptalker, ask anyone you work with. They’ll be able to tell you.

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

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International Registration Plan

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Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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