The use of filler words, such as “um,” “hmm,” and “ya know” can significantly impact communications within your business. Whether you are cold-calling, having a casual coffee with a prospective client, or presenting to a large group, filler words can undermine your credibility.
Ironically, some people will use certain words and phrases to display their knowledge on a subject, but this can backfire by giving the perception that the speaker is ill-prepared and stalling for time. A perfect example of this would be “basically” or “what I’m trying to say is.” Yes, these conversational habits have evolved over time, but with determination and awareness you can be in control of your speaking style in a very short time!
Slow and steady wins the race. Here are a few tips and techniques to rid your vocabulary of these unnecessary words:
- Evaluate how you are inserting filler words
- Assess why you are inserting filler words
- Rehearse content
- Slow breathing down in your speech. Take a breath.
EARS is a simple acronym to help you understand why you are tempted to use filler words, and how you can create better communication skills for personal and business use.
Be patient with your progress, but don’t give up. You will soon see positive results – both from your point of view as well as the response from your listeners.