The dreaded ums, uhs, so, I think ….etc etc. These are filler words. Filler words mean vocal garbage. These are unnecessary habits that creep up and take up valuable speech time. They are nasty little creepers, that creep up on your speech.
These filler words are natural in everyday speech, however they do not belong in formal presentations or speeches. Powerful public speakers work hard on eliminating ums, ahs from their speech, so that you can focus solely on the content.
Why do filler words even exist in the first place? We have been conditioned to answer questions right away from young. This is to either mark respect, or to not get told off for not answering right away. As a result, we reply as soon as a question is asked, even though we have not formulated our reply yet.
Filler words appear in two places. First, at the start of the sentence, and in between ideas. The next time you answer a question, listen to yourself. Did you start with an “ um” or “uh” just out of habit? When you use a filler word, you thinking out aloud. So, instead of thinking out aloud replace it with a PAUSE!
Use the following tips below the next time you are asked a question.
- Take a couple of seconds to think about what you are going to say, and then say it. This will help you start the sentence powerfully and avoid using filler words. PAUSE, THINK, ANSWER
- When you are transitioning from one idea to another, do not fill that space with an “um”. Give yourself time to pause and do not speak till you are ready.
- Record yourself speaking out aloud about a topic and listen to the playback. Notice how many “ums” there are. Once you notice the amount of “ums, uh, so, err” in your speech, you would start noticing it in other people’s speech as well.
- Use some pre-planned phrases to transition to the next idea. Tell your audience, “ Let’s move on to” , “Let’s talk about” etc.
If you can’t seem to shake the habit of using filler words during speeches, contact me, and I can help you!
What are your thoughts on filler words during speeches? Are they natural, or do you think they take you away from the meaning? Your comments below!