Own the room and make your presence felt with a few tricks here and there.
It is a verbal faux-pas that researchers say women are always guilty of. The term ‘uptalk’ refers to that rising, questioning tone that many people used at the end of a sentence, think of how when you say, “You know?”. This actually makes our statements sound like questions and comes across as uncertainty. Women are more likely to use uptalk compared to men, even when we’re sure of ourselves.
The way we speak has an impact to how we are looked at. Sounding confident can work to your advantage in many business or social situations. This is especially crucial when you want to be taken seriously or be a go-getter. While many suggest that we can fake it till we believe it, here are some sound tips you can follow to help you speak with conviction.
Use that record button
Make use of your smartphone to record yourself when you’re giving a presentation or expected to speak in a meeting. Play it back to yourself at the end of the day when you’re alone to identify any speech patterns you may need to work on.
Mirror a pro
Young women tend to use uptalk more frequently than those from older generation. Thus, the best lesson you can get is to watch a seasoned colleague in action as she presents her proposal, or get inspiration from a TED talk speaker. Focus on how their tone of voice makes them sound more authoritative and then mimic that until you master it.
Change your mindset
Uptalk happens when we’re insecure or nervous and this may make us appear clueless. In a social setting, it is ok to admit that you don’t know everything but in a business meeting, you need to go in with the mindset that you know what you’re talking about. Address the insecurity, build your confidence and believe in yourself.
Short and succinct
Sometimes you don’t really need to give a speech when a comment is enough. We feel pressured to construct elaborate response when the spotlight is suddenly on us. If you’ve been tuning in and out of a discussion or generally just unsure of yourself, just say something short and to the point like, “That’s interesting, I think that could work”. You can then turn the attention to the next person.
Don’t lose steam
Experts say that the most important information in a sentence is at the end, but that’s also where we tend to drop off. Try not to bring your voice down when coming to the end of a sentence and don’t bring it up higher too. Practise maintaining your enthusiasm all the way to the end. The subtle difference will keep listeners engaged.
Mind the gestures
We are an expressive lot but body language can either help or hurt you. Avoid unnecessary hand-talking and beware of leaning in, this is what many people do when they’re nervously trying to get a point across. Your gestures should act like a punctuation for the sentence and a consistent gaze (not stare) shows confidence.
Speak your passion
Humans naturally sound more confident when talking about the things we’re interested in. So find a way to loop in an expressive anecdote or a personal encounter. This topic of familiarity will help to calm the nerves too. When you get bored of the topic at hand, that’s when you start to wander and sound unsure as well as insecure.