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How the “TikTok Voice” Could Help You Be a Better Communicator

Uptalk. It’s the vocal quirk that makes every sentence sound like a question and it’s something you are regularly taught to avoid. It’s also a key element in the “TikTok voice,” a vocal style adopted mainly by female influencers that some linguists believe might signal the future of English.

Uptalk has been criticized because it seems to indicate a lack confidence. Making statements is more definitive than asking questions, right? What I had never considered is that this sort of uptalk might be a softer and more persuasive way to speak. As one reporter suggests, “It’s also less condescending. It’s less of me talking at you and more of me wondering whether maybe you agree with me?”

This story stuck with me because it’s not the way I speak and uptalk is even a speaking pattern I have told some young people to avoid in the past. Maybe I was wrong. And maybe I’m being unintentionally condescending by not using it myself.

Adopting this TikTok voice would be pretty tough for me now. Maybe I’m the wrong demographic to pull it off anyway. But knowing why it works and how its opposite might sound to others can help me be a better communicator … and it could do the same for you. 

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Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

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