If you’re like many people, you probably find yourself saying “um” and “ah” quite often when you’re speaking. These are what are known as filler words, and they can be quite annoying – both to you and to the people you’re talking to.
So how can you stop using filler words? If you find yourself using filler words like “um” or “like” when giving a speech or presentation, don’t worry – there are ways to get rid of them. Let’s take a look at a few tips that can help.
Tips to Reduce Filler Words
1. Make Short Pauses
One of the best ways to avoid using filler words is to make short pauses between your thoughts. Train your mind to make these pauses instead of blurting out filler words like “um” or “ah.” It won’t be easy at first, but with practice, it’ll become second nature.
2. Speak Slowly
Speaking slowly will give your brain more time to process what you want to say instead of resorting to filler words. Don’t rush your words because that’s when filler words tend to sneak in. It’s not just beneficial to you but also to the person listening as they’ll be able to understand you better.
3. Record Yourself and Listen Back
Recording yourself and listening back is one of the most effective ways to catch filler words. Once you identify them, you can start working on getting rid of them. Listening to yourself will also help you become more aware of the way you speak and it lets you realize how often you use filler words.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
As with anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you practice your speech or presentation, the better you’ll become at getting rid of filler words. So make sure to rehearse as much as possible before your big day.
5. Practice Making Eye Contact
The next time you’re in a meeting, experiment with making full eye contact and turning your body toward every person in the room. By doing so, you’ll notice it becomes less awkward to say “um” as you now have their undivided attention. It’s also a great way to build rapport and improve your social communication skills by making a connection with the person you’re talking to.
Why Do We Use Filler Words?
Filler words are often used because we feel the need to fill in the pauses in our speech. We think that if there’s a lull in the conversation, it makes us look bad. In fact, using filler words can make you sound unprepared and unprofessional. It can also make it difficult for people to understand you.
Filler words can also be used as a way to buy time while we’re thinking of what to say next. We might not even realize we’re doing it but often, filler words are used as a way to stall for extra time to think.
If you want to stop using filler words, it’ll take some time and effort. However, you don’t need to feel bad about it – everyone does it. Practice makes perfect, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. With time, you’ll be able to get rid of those filler words for good!