top of page
Eliminate "Up Talk" When Presenting
by Gilda Bonanno

One of the most common problems I hear when people present – and one of my pet peeves – is “up talk.” What is up talk? Up talk is when you say everything like it’s a question, as in, “Hi, my name is Gilda? I’m really happy to welcome you here? I hope that you like my presentation?”


Up talk undermines your credibility with the audience.  When you use up talk, you’re expressing that you’re not sure about anything you say, so you make it into a question just in case it’s wrong.


And this is not just something that new college graduates do.  I’ve heard people of all ages do it.  


I had one client, a market researcher, who often presented over the phone to remote customers and she asked me to listen in on her presentations.  She was very smart, had a master’s degree and several years of experience.  She knew what she was talking about, yet on the phone she sounded like a little girl unsure of what she was saying because everything sounded like a question: “Here’s our marketing numbers for the quarter? And here is what we recommend?”


She had no idea she was doing it.  Once I had her listen to a brief recording from one of those calls, she instantly became aware of it.


So, first of all, you need to be aware if you are using up talk.  Record yourself or have someone give you feedback.  Then practice ending the sentence with a period rather than a question mark, which means that your voice tone either goes down at the end of the sentence or stays the same, rather than going up.  It will take time, but eventually you will replace the up talk habit.  


Once my client heard how she sounded, she was able to purge the up talk from her presentation and thus, sound more confident.


If you suffer from up talk, work on eliminating it so you can stop undermining your credibility and authority with the audience.

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.

Copyright (c) 2014




bottom of page