How to break the up-speak habit

When leading my Public Speaking workshops, I find that a lot of people have a difficult time with the first thing that comes out of their mouths when they get up to speak—their name. There’s a trend many people have of speaking their name with “up-speak” as if their name is somehow a question. 

When rehearsing for auditions in acting classes back in graduate school, we practiced not only the monologue, but entering the room, saying our names and introducing the piece we were going to be performing.  

What surprised everyone, was that it took practice! Who would have thought we’d have to practice saying our names?

We knew that opinions were being formed the minute we walked into the room, so working on connecting with the auditors and telling them your name was an important part of the process of getting hired.

The same holds true when you’re introducing yourself to people every day—at a job interview, a networking event, or if you’re pitching your idea to VCs. 

That being said, using up-speak when introducing ourselves can be a hard habit to break. You’ve most likely been saying it that way most of your life, so it’s going to take some work to change it.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Use your phone to audio record yourself saying your name as you would introducing yourself to someone.
  2. Play it back and notice if your pitch tends to rise as you get to the end of your last name.  Does it sound like you’re asking a question?
  3. Practice saying your name as if it’s a declarative statement with your pitch going down at the end as if your pitch is walking down stairs.
  4. Incorporate your new way of pronouncing your name as you meet people in your day-to-day life.
  5. Find a way to get in front of people to get practice—join your local Toastmasters or attend a public speaking workshop.

You’ll be amazed at how differently you’ll be perceived if you change the habit of ending your name and other phrases with a question.  

William Smartt

99 Madison Ave, Suite 623, New York, NY 10016