"Uptalking" Makes You Sound Confused and Unsure

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.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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