3 Bad Speech Habits That Are Ruining Your Interviews

April 19, 2016

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Your resume is stellar, your recommendations are glowing, and you said all the right things during your latest interview. Why, then, didn’t you get the job? Vocal fry and other speech issues may be destroying your credibility. Detailed below are a few common vocal habits that turn off employers:

Vocal Fry

A common problem among millennials, vocal fry is marked by a gravelly tone, which typically accompanies words spoken in a low register. This speech pattern is increasingly accepted in professional circles, but still best kept to a minimum during interviews. Reduce vocal fry by slightly raising your vocal pitch or breathing deeper while speaking.

Upward Inflection

Another common issue among younger interviewees, upward inflection involves raising the pitch of your voice at the end of every phrase or sentence. This makes it sound as if you are perpetually asking questions. This habit is tough to stamp out, but awareness definitely helps. Speak slowly and make a concerted effort to end each sentence at the same pitch with which you began speaking.

Like, Um, and Other Fillers

Regardless of where you stand politically, you’ve likely noticed that President Obama’s speeches are littered with constant “ums” and “ahs”. No matter how well-written and passionate these speeches are, the frequent use of vocal filler ultimately distracts listeners and reduces the impact of the president’s message. The occasional “um” or “like” is perfectly acceptable, but if you find yourself using as much filler as actual vocal content, slow your speaking and pause whenever you feel compelled to add in fallback filler words.

From vocal fry to filler, a variety of bad habits can distract from your very important message. Practice makes perfect, so record your voice and repeat key phrases over and over until you sound natural and professional.

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