The interview was interesting. The interviewer asked probing questions and furthered the topic with valuable information. The guest was thoughtful and organized. But something was off. I listened to the interviewer’s speaking more closely and realized she ended her comments up. Was that a question or a comment?
When speaking, vocal pitch can have a strong influence on your message. Your pitch varies from high to low, depending on the nature of your words. When making a statement, it is normal to end the sentence strongly, showing confidence in what you said; the pitch is equal or even a little lower than the preceding words. When asking a question, the pitch rises at the end. This signals the listener that they are to fill in the answer. In an interview, the interviewer may already know the answer and simply be prompting the guest to provide it. In everyday life, it is perceived as a sign you are looking for an answer. You may also be seen as uncertain, seeking approval and/or even flirting.
In this case, the interviewer raised her pitch at the end of her declarative statements. This had the unfortunate effect of making them sound like questions. This respected journalist diminished her authority.
Unfortunately this is a fairly common phenomenon. Women in particular are prone to unconsciously turning statements into questions by raising their pitch. They become tentative. They aren’t taken seriously. They sideline themselves.
Try this: listen to a professional interview on the television. Pay attention to the pitch of the interviewer’s voice as they ask a question and make a statement. Note how it impacts your sense of their confidence. Then listen to women talk and pay attention to their pitch. Do you hear some of them raising their pitch with comments? How does that impact your perception of their confidence?
Listen to yourself or have a good friend listen to you. If you find you raise your pitch in declarative statements, practice speaking more confidently until you learn to manage the pitch better. If you have a question, let the pitch rise. Otherwise, pitch down.
What does this have to do with respect?
If you have something to say, respect yourself enough to own it and state it with certainty. Show your confidence. People will take you more seriously.You will gain their respect.