Filler Words In Public Speaking
I know you notice when others use them. I know you don’t mean to use them yourself. But those awful filler words have a way of creeping into your presentations the way a family of skunks hides under your front porch. You don’t notice them at first, because they’re so subtle. Then one day you realize no one’s coming around anymore because, well, your house (and your presentations) stink.
What are filler words? “Uh,” “um,” “like”, “ah,” “okay”… These are all useless words I’m certain you’ve used a million times in your presentations and in your everyday conversations—and you probably don’t even realize it. We’re a society of lazy talkers who speak before we think through what we want to say, which leads to conversations broken up by filler words that are distracting and add no value to our message.
Think about it this way: Any word you speak (or sound you make) that you wouldn’t write is a filler word. It might even be a few words together, such as “you know.” It’s time you learn how to stop using them.
Filler Words to Avoid
We’ve trained thousands of people over the years, and the majority of them came to us using filler words almost uncontrollably. Here’s what you need to understand: When you don’t make a conscious effort to avoid filler words in public speaking, they will creep in without you even knowing, and the impression you leave is unfavorable. That’s because they make you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you’re unprepared.
You’re nervous when you start speaking—we get it. Nervousness is one of the most common reasons people use filler words. Their fear distracts them which causes them to lose focus. How about turning your focus to not using filler words?
Presentation Skills Training Helps Eliminate Filler Words
The next time you catch yourself using filler words, take a breath in. When you think about it, those “umms” and “ahhhs” are nothing more than sounds you make when you exhale. Inhale instead and use that pause to bring your focus back to what you’re saying. People underestimate the value of saying nothing. Need a second to refocus? Take a pause. It’s a very effective tool.
In our Effective Presentation Skills workshops, we spend quite a bit of time on filler words and how to avoid using them in order to sound more professional and polished. We also teach you how to effectively inject pauses into your speaking as an audience engagement tool. We’d love to have you join us at one of our open training events. Take a peek at our Calendar of Events to find out when we’ll be in your area next.