How You Talk and What it’s Saying About You



One of the easiest clichés to think of, is the ditzy blonde valley girl. She’s a lot like Cher in Clueless, and speaks in a certain tone with lots of “Likes” and “Totally’s” thrown into every sentence. What is it that makes her so easy to pinpoint outside of her hair color? It’s the timbre of her voice, the manner in which she speaks, and that meme? It’s typically associated with being dumb (or at least not totally having it together together). It turns out that there are a lot of other vocal ticks that really drive people nuts, and affect how they perceive you. The Wall Street Journal wrote about it first, and I read about it on Jezebel.  And researchers found that people listen less to what you’re saying (11% was the words spoken), and more to how you sound when you’re speaking (read: your voice). All the while, they’re busy making interpretations of your social characteristics, levels of success and appearance just based on how you sound when you speak rather than the words coming out of your mouth.

The most annoying vocal habits are ending every sentence in a question mark (uptalk), talking too loudly (volumizing), talking too breathily or quietly (whisper-talking) and making words sound overly harsh or grating (vocal fry). It can impact your ability to win a job during an interview, get an important message across to coworkers, or just generally get people to listen to what you’re saying without fighting the overwhelming urge to tell you to put a sock in it. While everyone has a particular sound to their voice, most of the annoying habits you pick up along the way (hello baby talk!) can be trained out of habit. The key is realizing what you sound like, and then practicing to fix it.

Are there any ways of talking that really get on your nerves?

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