For those who can remember the 80’s movie Valley Girl, one of the hallmarks of the teenage inhabitants of the Valley was the tendency to speak every phrase as a question.

E.g. So the other day? I was in Loblaws? And they had a sale? On lobster tails?

Unfortunately, this is a common pattern among fully grown North American women many of whom do it completely unconsciously. The problem is that speaking this way makes a woman sound like she is both uncertain and child-like. Not the way you want to sound when you are a manager of sales or a director of fundraising.

There is a 3 step fix for this problem which involves training the ear and the voice.

Step 1: Record yourself having a conversation or leaving a voicemail. Listen for the rising inflection at the end of each phrase or sentence. Notice how frequently you do this or if it only happens at the beginning of a sentence or at the end. This step is to raise your awareness of how you sound to others.

Step 2. Now write out a series of random statements e.g. The laundry is dry now. I have to go to the gym. I want to see the new Twilight movie.

Step 3. Speak each phrase as a question first, and then as a statement immediately after. By doing this you are heightening your awareness about what a question should feel and sound like vs. a statement. E.g. The laundry is dry now? The laundry is dry now.

Step 4 Write out a series of sentences that you might make at a meeting at work or use in a presentation. Repeat Step 3 and then Step 1.

If you do this for a week every day even for just a few minutes, you will be on your way to losing the Valley Girl talk and speaking more professionally. Like, totally rad!

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