Recent research disclosed a number of variables which may distort blood pressure readings, but little attention has been paid to talking as such a variable. To investigate the effect of talking on diastolic blood pressure, 48 subjects with one previous diastolic blood pressure reading of 90 mm Hg or more and not taking antihypertensives, were recruited from an outpatient hypertension clinic. Three diastolic blood pressure readings under each of three sequentially counter-balanced treatment conditions were obtained: no talking, reading neutral material for part of the procedure, and reading neutral material continuously. Blood pressure increased significantly (p < .01) under both talking conditions. Implications for nursing education, practice, and future research are discussed.