Think (and Think Some More) Before You Speak


Notably, there are a few verbal tics that we mistakenly think index insecurity, even though they don’t. These (mostly feminine) quirks—uptalk, vocal fry—are often subtle expressions of power, innovativeness, or upward mobility. In fact, Adam Gopnik recently wrote about how verbal fillers like “um” and “you know” underscore a speaker’s conscientiousness, her sensitivity to the details she must, for reasons of economy, leave unsaid. So, uh, if you want to come across as confident, don’t shy away from a little gravel in your voice, or from lilting upward at the end of your sentences? But you should stick to second- and third-person pronouns (and the imperative mode!).

The ways people speak can tell you a lot about their insecurities. Make sure you read this article, by Katy Waldman for Slate, before everyone else does so you can hide yours before others figure out how to spot them.

Diksha Basu is the author of The Windfall. You can find her on Twitter @dikshabasu. More from this author →