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Is Your Speaking Style Costing You Money?

Lisa Hugo, is a leader in the field of voice and communication as well as course creation and digital marketing. Having trained in performing arts, she spent a large part of her career on the stage as a singer/songwriter whilst also coaching the voices of up-and-coming singers.

Executive Contributor Lisa Hugo

You know those little speaking quirks that you think no one notices? The ums and ahs, the vocal fry, the questioning lilt at the end of sentences? Well, people notice. And those subtle speech patterns you've picked up over the years are likely costing your business without you even realizing it. When your speaking style distracts from your message or makes you seem unsure, disinterested, or just plain annoying, you turn off potential customers and clients. But here's the good news: speech patterns are learned, which means they can be unlearned. With practice and intention, you can change the way you speak. And that small change can lead to big rewards, like more credibility, confidence, and cash. So keep reading to find out if your speaking style is getting in the way of your earning potential, and what you can do about it.

A professional businesswoman standing in front of a conference room filled with people

Common speaking habits that undermine your credibility

Umms and ahs

These filler words make you sound unprepared and distract your audience from your message. Practice pausing instead of filling the silence with ‘um’ or ‘like’. Record yourself and listen back to identify where you use these words. With conscious effort, you can eliminate them from your speaking.

Descending melody patterns

Do you sound sad, bored, or disinterested when you speak? A descending melody pattern, where your voice starts in the middle of your range and continuously goes down at the end of sentences, gives this impression. It makes you seem lacking in confidence, passion, and drive. Consciously change your melody pattern to end a couple pitches higher at the end of sentences. This simple tweak can transform how engaged and dynamic you sound.


Ending statements with an uplift, like a question, is known as uptalk. It makes you appear unsure of yourself because it sounds like you’re questioning everything you say. It’s also extremely annoying when you have this pattern on repeat. Record yourself speaking and listen for sentences that end higher in pitch. Then, practice keeping your pitch level or slightly descending at the ends of statements. With regular practice, you can overcome the habit of uptalk.

Vocal fry

Dropping your voice into a creaky register at the ends of phrases is known as vocal fry. It makes you sound bored, tired, and inaudible. To change this pattern, practice maintaining an energetic, moderately pitched voice through the ends of sentences and phrases. Stay engaged as you speak, and avoid dropping into a lower, breathy register. With conscious effort, you can strengthen your vocal cords to produce a clear, consistent tone.

Lack of variety

A monotone, unchanging pitch and pace while speaking can put people to sleep. Your voice lacks dynamics, so listeners tune out. Include variety through changes in volume, speed, pitch, and pauses. Speak louder to emphasize important points, slow down or speed up for effect, raise and lower your pitch, and include short pauses to give listeners time to absorb key ideas. A diverse, engaging speaking style keeps people attentive and persuadable.

Additional considerations

A soft, breathy voice can make you sound timid and run out of air. A loud, brassy voice may seem overbearing. A monotone lacks emotional connection. A voice that’s too high-pitched for your body type can irritate listeners.

The way you speak has an enormous impact on how people perceive you. Poor vocal patterns and habits can significantly limit your success and cost you money by turning off audiences and clients. However, speech is a learned behavior, so you can retrain yourself with conscious effort and practice. Focus on sounding confident, engaged and authentic. Your bottom line will thank you.

With awareness and practice, you can transform habits that undermine your credibility and cost you business. Develop a powerful speaking style, and your audience—and bank account—will grow.

To improve how you speak and come across to others, consider working with a speaking coach. A coach can give you personalized guidance to help you sound more confident, credible, and charismatic. When I work with my clients, I help them to:

Identify speaking challenges

I will evaluate how you currently speak and determine any traits that could be holding you back, such as uptalk, vocal fry, or lack of passion. I will pinpoint specific ways for you to improve to better connect with your audience.

Learn new techniques

I teach you techniques to strengthen your speaking skills. I may focus on projection, intonation, pacing, or storytelling. You'll receive custom exercises to help you break bad habits and adopt new ways of speaking that showcase your best qualities.

Gain valuable feedback

I provide constructive feedback you can use to strengthen your speaking style. I will evaluate recordings of you speaking and offer suggestions for improvement. Hearing how others perceive your speech is eye-opening and helps you make powerful changes.

Build your confidence

Working with me boosts your confidence in your speaking ability. As you strengthen your skills through practice and apply feedback, you'll feel more at ease speaking to groups. I also help you feel fully prepared to deliver an impactful message.

Achieve your goals

I help you achieve important goals like attracting new clients, raising your fees, or booking more speaking gigs. By transforming how you speak, you significantly increase your ability to persuade and influence others. People will see you as the authority in your field and seek to work with you.

Improving how you speak is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your business and career. Partnering with me provides the guidance and support to help you strengthen your speaking style, build confidence in your message, and achieve your most ambitious goals. Your voice is your power—don't leave your full potential unrealized.


You might think you're stuck with the speech patterns you have now. But the truth is, you learned to speak by listening to the people around you. That means you can relearn new speaking habits. Start paying attention to how the most influential communicators speak. Notice their melody patterns, their pacing, their vocal power. Then, little by little, start copying them. At first, it will feel strange, but keep at it. With consistent practice, you'll form new neural pathways in your brain and new muscle memory in your voice. Before you know it, you'll sound confident, compelling, and authoritative. People will sit up and pay attention when you speak. And that attention translates into more sales, more clients, and more money. Your voice is your most powerful asset. Invest the time to make it work for you.

Take action

Ready to transform your speaking skills? Join me for a free webinar where I'll share more tips and techniques to help you become a confident and compelling speaker. Don't miss this opportunity to unlock your full potential! Sign up now here.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Lisa Hugo, Professional Voice Mentor

Lisa Hugo, is a leader in the field of voice and communication as well as course creation and digital marketing. Having trained in performing arts, she spent a large part of her career on the stage as a singer/songwriter whilst also coaching the voices of up-and-coming singers. Now Lisa channels her performing experience into helping entrepreneurs, executives, and speakers to enhance their performance by unleashing the full power and potential of their voice. She is CEO of Audacia Marketing, and has helped 1000s of people around the world find their voices and confidence to grow their brand and share their message with the world.



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