The 3 most annoying vocal mannerisms

Is what you say more important than how you say it?

In this article here, I revealed that answer but there’s solid proof in this one that points to how certain vocal mannerisms will drastically lower your chances of getting hired, promoted or taken seriously and here they are:

  1. Vocal fry is an affectation whereby the voice has certain creakiness.  Here’s the Queen of Fry, Kim Kardashian:

Research by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business had 800 people rate the vocal quality of two speakers, one with vocal fry and one without. The raters were equally split between males and females and were to judge the speakers on the three markers, as follows:

  1. are they trustworthy?
  2. are they competent?
  3. would you hire them?

The speaker with the vocal fry gained no votes at all.

Here I will add something that will irk my female readers.  We’re judged more severely on our voices than men, who also fry.  Bill Clinton is one example of complete fry-up but he gets away with it.   I know, it’s bloody annoying but there we are…

If you’d like to know how to get rid of vocal fry, then have a look at this 5 minute video. There’s a tip at the end if you don’t have this habit but need to offer this solution to someone else, without offending them.

2. Uptalking is the second trend in speaking that can seriously undermine individuals where every statement sounds like a question even when it isn’t. This trend’s been around for a while. In fact, as far back as 1994, people have been lamenting uptalking.  Here’s how it sounds:

I used to notice it in friends who’d just returned from the U.S. or Australia but now it’s more general. Because everything sounds like a question, it undermines the speaker’s confidence and projects incompetence to the listener.

3. Valley girl speak is another bugbear that centres around the overuse of the word ‘like’ and has become present amongst men as well as women.  There’s a grammatical reason for using ‘like’ as in when one thing is like another.

However, if you’re like, speaking and it’s like being punctuated with the like all the time, like, y’know, like in this example. We stop, like listening to the words, and we, like, here, like only the word, like.

Like that. See.


Your Actions:

  1. Listen to a short clip of yourself – maybe for a couple of minutes – and check for fry, uptalking and fillers.
  2. If you’re uptalking, watch the clip above on how to get rid of it.  (Shortcut: use vocal emphasis with a phrase and it kicks out the uptalking.)
  3. For fry, awareness is 99% towards the solution. As soon as you realise it’s there, your consciousness control will kick in.   Breathing during pauses is one way to get rid of this habit.
  4. To squash fillers, it’s the same. Pauses give you more power and presence (even while you’re thinking “What do I say next?”).  If pausing feels awkward, go here to get comfortable with using silence.


How to use pauses is right here

Let me know in the comments if these habits also get you or if I’ve missed one out…

Want some help with you non-verbal and verbal communication? Feel that you could come across more thriller and less vanilla (without compromising who you are)? Contact me here for a FREE 15 minute Discovery call.


Photo by cottonbro studio from

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