You know that what you say in meetings with your boss can go a long way toward making them think that you’re capable, serious, and ready to take on greater responsibility. What you might not realise is that how you say your idea is almost as important as the idea itself.
In a recent post on LinkedIn, author and enterprise performance expert Bernard Marr writes that employees who use “upspeak,” or end most of their sentences with a higher pitch (as if they’re asking a question), put their promotions at risk by coming across as less confident than others who don’t.
By turning every statement into a pseudo question, it’s as if “we are questioning our own statements and therefore subconsciously tell[ing] our listeners that we either are not sure of ourselves or what we are saying,” Marr writes.
To a boss looking for a strong, confident leader, this speech pattern can come across as a sign of weakness or insecurity. This was confirmed by a recent study by UK publisher Pearson that showed a majority of bosses “believe uptalk hinders the prospects of promotion as well as better pay grades in their organisation.”
Here are some key stats, 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 next time you find yourself drifting into a higher pitch, think about your next promotion and end your sentence with a period, not a question mark.
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