It’s just that simple to gain substantial credibility from virtually any audience.
Yes, you can stop uptalk for presentation credibility . . . but given the prevalence of this ugly vocal habit, it’s apparently not easy to give up.
Foregoing other bad habits might be easier . . .
Stop chewing tobacco.
Stop Thursday and Friday Happy Hour. Give up refined sugar and white bread. Go organic. Become vegan.
All well and good, but none of those things will help your presentation credibility. Few behavior changes can do you as much good as stopping Uptalk.
The Uptalk Pathology
Uptalk is the maddening rise of inflection at the end of declarative sentences that transforms simple statements into an endless stream of questioning uncertainty.
As if the speaker is contantly asking for validation. Looking for others to nod in agreement. Yes, maddening . . . and it infests everyone exposed to this voice with doubt, unease, and irritation.
It screams amateur when used in formal presentations, a time when we most want and need to be taken seriously.
Uptalk cries out: “I don’t know what I’m talking about here. I just memorized a series of sentences and I’m spitting them out now in this stupid presentation. I’m not invested in this exercise at all.”
Uptalk radiates weakness and uncertainty and doubt.
Uptalk conveys the mood of unfinished business, as if something more is yet to come. A steady drumbeat of questioning non-questions.
You create a tense atmosphere with Uptalking that is almost demonic in its effect. This tic infests your audience with an unidentifiable uneasiness.
At its worst, your audience wants to cover ears and cry “make it stop!” . . . but they aren’t quite sure at what they should vent their fury.
Uptalk = “I don’t know what I’m talking about”
In certain places abroad, this tic is known as the Australian Questioning Intonation, popular among young Australians. The Brits are less generous in their assessment of this barbarism, calling it the “moronic interrogative,” a term coined by comedian Rory McGrath.
In United States popular culture, listen for uptalk in any popular youth-oriented television show.
Reality television females, as a breed, seem unable to express themselves in any other way. Their lives appear as one big query.
But you can fix this.
In fact, you can gain an especially powerful competitive advantage simply by eliminating this pathology. If you speak with straightforward declarative sentences, with confidence and conviction, your personal presence gains power, and this power increases the more it is contrasted with the hosts of questioning babblers around you who seem unsure of anything.
For many young speakers, Uptalk is the only roadblock standing between them and a major step up in presentation power.
So Stop Uptalk!
And recognizing that you have this awful habit is halfway to correcting it.
Evaluate your own speech to identify the up-tic.
Then come to grips with it, and, you know . . .
Eliminate it. Totally.
For a wealth of energizing instruction on exactly how to craft especially powerful presentations and stop uptalk, have a look at The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.