Have you ever noticed how many people – women and men alike – raise the pitch of their voice at the end of a statement, making it sound like a question?  I’m not talking just about today’s millennials or Gen Z-ers either. I’m talking about educated adults too.  Believe it or not, there is an actual name for this vocal pattern: it’s called “up-speak” or “up talk.”  I like to refer to it more as “up-pitch” since that’s exactly what happens: the pitch goes up at the end of a sentence, and there is a recent epidemic of this speech pattern!

“Up-pitch” is extremely prevalent, and it can negatively impact one’s credibility. There have been actual studies that equate this syndrome to sounding less confident, less trustworthy, less educated and less hireable!  It makes one sound as if they are always seeking reassurance when speaking.  And while this is a gender neutral issue, more women seem to use this pattern than men.  What is discouraging about that is that women have more opportunities and are more empowered than ever before, yet the “up-pitch” erodes some of the strides we’ve taken thus far in our careers.

Being a classically trained singer, I have studied the voice, and I find it amazing how so much of what I have learned I use with my clients today.  Using your voice correctly is power, and that leads to presence and credibility.  When one speaks with a strong voice, eliminating the “up-speak, up-talk, up-pitch” or whatever you want to call it, you will in fact sound more confident and much more believable.

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