Chapter NineteenBe Expressive

Not long ago, I interviewed a young woman for an internship at The Humphrey Group. She had good credentials on paper: she was a university undergraduate with high grades and had excelled in extracurricular activities. But within minutes of meeting her, I knew that I would not bring her in. She used lots of “um's,” “you know's,” and other filler words; but most grating was her upspeak. She lifted her voice at the end of every sentence as though asking a question. Repeated patterns like this can drive listeners crazy.

We do a disservice to ourselves when we use our voices in such unexpressive ways. Our vocal chords—and all the parts of our upper body from our chest and lungs to our throat and mouth—make up a remarkably ...

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