How do you stop saying um and ah when speaking?
Some speakers litter ums and ahs throughout their presentation. These filler words can be irritating for the audience. It also distracts from and weakens the speaker’s message.
Speakers might not be aware of these ums and ahs until a well intentioned listener brings it to their attention.
Some speakers are aware that they are saying um or ah but they have no idea how often they say it or how to stop.
First you need to become aware of the filler words that you are saying. It might be um or ah. It could also be any other repeated word or sound that serves no purpose.
To become more aware of your ums and ahs you can do one or both of two things. Ask a friend to count your ums and ahs and report the number to you after your presentation. The second thing you can do is to record your presentation and listen later. You might be shocked at what you said.
Realize that speakers tend to use filler words while they are thinking about what they want to say next. That might mean that the speaker wasn’t well prepared to deliver this speech. Thus, one way to reduce the ums and ahs is to be better prepared for each presentation.
A more lasting way to reduce the filler words is to become more comfortable with silence. Accept that you might need to collect your thoughts while speaking and learn to be silent for those moments. That can be more difficult than it sounds. When you feel the need to think – be quiet. You will probably only need a second or two.
What if you find that difficult?
Take a smaller step. Change your filler word. The point is to take control of what you say while thinking. It might be easier to take a small step by simply learning to use a different filler word. You might substitute the word “and”. It doesn’t matter what word you change it to as long as you take partial control of your thinking moments. It’s moving your habits in the right direction.
Once you have successfully substituted the old filler words with your new word you have demonstrated that you can control what you say. The next step is for you to change the “and” to silence.
And now silence.George Torok was a shy student who learned how to speak in public. He has delivered over 1,000 professional presentations. He trains professionals, specialists and sales teams to deliver Superior Presentations. He coaches executives and leaders to deliver million dollar presentations. Visit www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com or www.Torok.com © George Torok. You may reprint or quote this information as long as you quote the source and link back to this site. www.QuestionsAboutPublicSpeaking.com