Upspeak, also known as High Rising Terminal, has been increasing for a few years now and it can block your career prospects. It’s the tendency some speakers have of ending their statements as if they were questions, with a rise in pitch. It has the affect of making them sound unsure of themselves? As if they’re not confident in what they are saying?
Upspeak is commonly found in younger speakers, people in their 20’s. More women than men tend to speak this way, although studies show that upspeak can be common in either gender. It’s also common in certain dialects. Australian English is well known for a rising intonation as well as Tamil and other Indian languages.
The unfortunate side effect of upspeak is it could cost you a promotion. A study released earlier this year by the British publishing company, Pearson, interviewed 700 men and women in managerial, executive and ownership roles. The study specifically targeted their impressions of employees who use upspeak in the work place and the results were not favorable.
85% of felt that the trait was a clear indicator of a person’s “insecurities or emotional weakness. ” 71% found upspeak to be a particularly irritating speech habit. 57% felt that the use of upspeak was potentially damaging to a person’s professional credibility, indicating a reluctance to speak their mind. Over half stated that it would impact a persons prospects for a promotion.
If peoples native language ends in rising intonation patterns this can carry over to their English speaking habits as well and have an effect on their career they were not aware of. They may have the dual issue of having difficulty producing speech sounds in English that don’t exist in their native language and upspeak intonation patterns. Not only would their employers struggle to understand what they were saying but they also risk coming across insecure in the process.
Accent training provided by a qualified trainer can help solve these issues. Identifying speech sounds that distract listeners and directly addressing upspeak intonation patterns can make the difference in how a person comes across to an employer. It can change a person from sounding insecure to a person who projects confidence. Accent training can help remove the communication barriers that stand in the way of your career goals.