Um, err, ya know… Filler words can plague your speech and annoy your audience. We all do it but the secret is to try to keep them to a minimum. The answer to overcoming filler words is easier than you think.
Um ah – it’s nice to be here – so I’m going um talk to you about er – something that’s umm very important.
We’ve all heard people talking like this – using filler words when they can’t think of what to say.
But you only need to take action if the filler words become excessive, the occasional um or er is perfectly acceptable – as long as you are speaking with passion and energy.
But let’s look at the case of the speaker whose talk is becoming engulfed in ums ah’s you know and like.
What can you do to cut the fillers words dramatically?
Firstly – record yourself – listen back and see how much of a problem it is – often we use filler words without even being aware of it.
Keep recording your presentation until the filler words are at a minimum. If you don’t want to record your talk maybe a friend can listen and let you know every time you err or umm.
So, what do you do to replace the filler word – well, absolutely nothing – by that I mean instead of umm simply pause . Never underestimate the power of the pause. It can add emphasis to what you’ve said or are about to say. It can let you change tack – it can give your and your audience a breather. It can let you recollect your thoughts.
When listening to other speakers note how often they use filler words, you’ll be surprised how often they , and it will make you aware of how often you use them yourself.
Your aim is not to completely eliminate all filler words; your aim should be to reduce them so they don’t distract from your speech allowing your audience focus on you, on your message, and your vision.