So...do you like, want to stop, uh, using filler words when you speak?
Me too. Many of us use them and if you've ever tried to stop, you know, it's tough! This could help...
Research from the Harvard Business Review says that “the average speaker uses five fillers per minute—or, one every twelve seconds.” “Like”, “uhm”, and “ah” are plaguing our society's vocabulary and speech.
It’s true that these words are distracting to the human ear and can take away from what the speaker is actually trying to say. They can also make us sound nervous, distracted, or inauthentic when we use them. None of us are perfect though. We all have our own verbal crutches. Here are some tips to help limit using yours.
- Record yourself to find the words you use most. A lot of the time, we don’t even realize we’re saying them. Record yourself having a conversation and listen for: Like, uh, um, ah, er, ok, so, well, ya know, whatever, and know what I mean.
- Figure out when you use filler words. Is it when you’re tired? Presenting in a meeting? Nervous when you’re put on the spot? During small talk with strangers?
- Give yourself speaking challenges. Challenge yourself to speak out loud for one minute without using any filler words.
- Enlist a friend to call it out. Having someone call you out can be eye-opening.
- Embrace the pauses. Slow down and collect your thoughts before you speak. Instead of starting your sentence off with “um,” pause, think, then answer.
- Keep sentences short. Avoid long compound sentences. When you reduce what your mind has to process, your fluency improves.