Matt was just promoted to manager of his department and
his first team meeting to be successful. He asked me to listen
presentation during a practice session. His opening went
like this: "Ah, good morning. Um, it's a pleasure to be with
today. Ah, what I'd like to cover this morning are, um..." And
can imagine the rest.
When Matt was finished, he had said, "um," "ah," or some other
word nearly 42 times! If Matt had delivered his presentation in
manner to his team, they would have been counting, too. They
have been distracted from the important message Matt was
to deliver. You may be surprised to learn that Matt didn't know
uttered any of those words until we reviewed the video.
If you or someone you know tends to speak like Matt, here are
proven ways to get rid of those annoying "filler" words:
1. Practice your presentations out loud.
The more familiar you are with the thoughts you
wish to express,
the less likely you will need to search for the
"right" words when
you're up before a group.
2. Record your practice and real presentations.
Many people are unaware how often they use these
fillers. You may be surprised.
Try to catch the start of "um" and "ah" (you can
formulating in your vocal cords), then replace it
with a pause.
Count silently "one, two" while saying nothing to
This takes practice, but will be much appreciated
Keep a glass of water handy so you can sip it in
ideas. This will force you to pause and not utter
a filler word.
5. Increase your eye contact.
Most "ums" and "ahs" come when we are looking
people. Practice looking into people's eyes more
you'll find it difficult to utter those filler
6. Get a buddy.
Ask a "presentation buddy" to observed your
and provide you an agreed upon silent signal if
you start using
the fillers. For example, she could raise a
couple fingers near
her mouth to remind you to monitor your word
After consciously applying the tips above for a few
you will break yourself of this annoying habit and increase
the impact of your message.