If you want an image that exudes confidence, one of the things you should do is to stop the rise of your inflection at the end of your sentences. I call this the Valley Girl sound or Valley Girl-ese. Unfortunately, it does not sound mature. |
Inflection refers to the rise or fall of the pitch of the voice. The voice naturally rises when you ask a question; however, at the end of a statement, the pitch of the voice usually drops. When you raise the pitch as you finish speaking, that lilt or cadence on the upswing makes you sound unsure of yourself. It is a habit which is learned and is heard primarily in those who are in their 20’s and 30’s.
In today’s international business world where competition is fierce, projecting a professional image is a necessity if you want to succeed. Sounding like a Valley Girl goes against that image because you do not sound confident or mature.
How can you break the habit?
Your 1st step is to record yourself in conversation. Play it back and listen to it. Study what is happening to your voice at the end of your sentences. While your goal is to eliminate the habitual lilt or cadence, you will find it much easier to accomplish this task if you train yourself to recognize the difference.
Your 2nd step is to record yourself talking as if you were giving a presentation. Play that recording back and study it as well. Are you speaking in a particular rhythm? Are you raising your pitch at the end of every sentence?
Your 3rd step is to practice saying a sentence in a ‘normal’ manner (so that it sounds like a statement and not a question) and then say it again, lifting your pitch at the end. This exercise of doing it correctly and then incorrectly is one of the best means of training your inner ear – how you hear yourself in your head – to recognize the difference in sound.
When teaching my clients how to find their ‘real’ voice, I advise them to practice speaking in their new voice – a richer, deeper, and warmer quality – and then go back to their old one. Back and forth, back and forth. It is this reinforcement which begins the training process with the inner ear. It is also one of the techniques I recommend for eliminating nasality.
You can stop Valley Girl-ese. In doing so, you will be amazed at the change in how others perceive you. No longer will your statements sound like questions. Instead, you will be projecting confidence and professionalism.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. If you would like to see and hear a dramatic change, from childlike to warm and mature, watch Trish's 'Before & After' video clip.
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