4. And finally - Uptalk – more commonly known as ending a sentence that is not a question with an upward inflection .
If you have any ambitions to head up a team, lead an organisation or influence others to join you in your new venture you’ll want to knock this one on the head - immediately.
Linguistic experts don’t really know where it came from but it’s fairly wide spread and, unfortunately Australians and New Zealanders are rather expert at it. In a 2014 BBC article they call attention to the rise of the upward inflection (pun intended) and how it sounds like we are asking for permission all the time. This in turn diminishes your power, your credibility and authority.
Picture this - you are a high performer, possibly even a perfectionist, with an eye for your next big promotion. You go in for your performance appraisal and you are totally and awesomely prepared. In outlining your work, your input and the key measurable outcomes, every second statement you make ends with a upward inflection - which make it sound like a question.
- Where is the power in this conversation?
- How credible do you think it sounds?
More importantly it sounds like you are seeking permission - rather than making statements - therefore undermining your best attempts at negotiating that extra pay rise or next big promotion.
The fix for it all?
The ego’s deep, ingrained need for approval is hard to fix - so you’ll need to be vigilant.
- Next time you have a conversation I challenge you to record yourself and listen for the tone and melody of your conversation. Listen out also for apologies, the word just and also compliment deflection. Determine whether or not they were necessary - or simply ingrained patterning, people pleasing or seeking approval behaviours.
- Ask a trusted colleague, coach or mentor to give you feedback next time you are in a meeting or in a situation where you feel stressed or uncertain.
- Rehearse a few times and then record yourself again so you can hear what's really going on. Fake it till you make it is probably great advice in this instance.
- I've even heard of a manager using this as a teaching point with the entire team to ensure the department operated more efficiently and effectively - supporting each other and getting better results as a result.
So why is this important?
We're in interesting times right now. As women we want to lead but frequently find the journey there is not easy at the best of times and downright challenging at the worst. You want to make sure that your ambition "tool kit" is fitted out with the best of the best, sharpest, high quality tools that help you get ahead more easily. Credibility, authority and expertise are great tools - and we need to make sure that we don't accidentally undermine ourselves despite best efforts and intentions.
Vive la révolution!