For many, using filler words is so routine and reflexive that asking them to stop saying “ah” or “um” is like asking someone to control his sneezing.
The trick to controlling this habit is substituting another behavior in its place, or at least adopting tactics that reduce its frequency. These four strategies can help.
- Embrace the Pause. Whereas filler words create distraction, pauses have multiple benefits: They create suspense, slow down fast talkers, demonstrate confidence, draw audience attention and give speakers the time they need to communicate with precision.
- Slow Down. When speakers slow down, they have much more time to plan out the precise phrases they want to use and will not need nonsensical fillers to connect random and pre-baked thoughts.
- Know Your Point. If you start talking before you know what you want to say, you’re bound to say something pointless. Prepare in advance and know your topic well.
- Practice. Practice may not always make perfect, but it can give you the confidence to make good public-speaking decisions.
Crutch words are not an indication of your experience or ability. Some executives use crutch words all the time, while some interns never do. But if you know what your problem words are and learn to control them, you’ll be a clearer and more efficient point-maker, and that’s always a goal worth aiming for.
#tip #crutchwords #filler #publicspeaking #vlib
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