Had enough of your peers speaking in sentences that sound more like questions because their voice gets higher at the end of the sentence?
They are suffering from HRT, high-rise terminals, a speech habit being used by more than just teens and valley-girls. So much so, it has become a global epidemic.
HRT is the technical term for uptalk – the way kids speak so that every sentence ends with an interrogative tone so it sounds like a question even when it’s a statement.
Diane DiResta says, “It robs adults and professionals of credibility and authority.” Diane, author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz, thinks it’s also an outgrowth of our politically correct society where people tiptoe around their beliefs by monitoring their language. She says, “It’s as if a person’s tentative tone allows them to retract the statement if it is met with criticism or disapproval. People are afraid to take a stand.”
Either way, adults and professionals who are mimicking the trend are making a statement, robbing themselves of credibility.
According to a piece in the Houston Chronicle, “It began as a feature of valley speak, the adolescent argot native to the San Fernando Valley and immortalized by the valley girl. But now uptalk has taken on a life of its own.” Other commentators have likewise associated uptalk with other features of west coast mall-speak, such as the slacker habit of self-interrupting sentences with “like”, using the intensifier “totally”, and responding to any actual question (as opposed to an uptalk interrogative) with “whatever”.
Consider the image you want to create professionally and personally, is mimicking HRT in line with that image? Linguistic trends begin decades before they are noticed around the world; your credibility can be tarnished in mere sentences.
I may not always need to deliver my message with power, punch and pizzazz but I do need to deliver it with credibility.
This is an HRT-free zone!