How often do you use like, um, you know when speaking? In every day speech, we all use fillers. It is a forgivable and common speech pattern. It fills in while your brain thinks of something else to say or process. I am fine with fillers being used in causal conversation. I have two teenaged daughters whose speech is filled with likes and you knows. That is normal for their demographic. However, if one is making a speech in a public forum or for the media, the game is different; sounding like a teenager is not the goal.
How to control Stammering
What is the problems with using like, um, you know? The problem is that it can make you sound like you don't know what you are talking about, that you are ill-prepared or not being honest. It also can take the focus off the content and on the fillers.
How to stop stammering
*What is acceptable as far as fillers? As a listener, it is fine to hear fillers throughout the speech. It is the overuse of fillers that becomes the issue. We discuss the importance of first impressions coaching speech in the course Ace Your Interview. The first line of defense in dealing with fillers is becoming aware of them. You become aware by identifying them. Record yourself or have a listener record the number of fillers you have in a 30 second period. Listening to yourself is a great way to recognize speech patterns that your may want to get rid of.
*After counting the number of fillers, try to discover why you are using them. Are you ill-prepared? Are you nervous? Combating this at the origin will help greatly. If you are dealing with nervousness, using techniques to calm yourself will be your goal. If you don't know your material, practicing will be your technique to decrease fillers.
*I recommend breaking things down. When you are practicing your speech or answering questions, break it down into increments. Set a goal for a time period, and work within that time period. Say, you want to decrease your fillers from 20 to 4 per 2 minute interval. Set the timer, speak for 2 minutes and record how many fillers you use. If you have 10 fillers, try again and focus on not using fillers. As you are able to meet your goals, increase your time until you can say your whole speech with an acceptable amount of fillers. Of course, if you need one on one coaching, we are available to assist you with this. You can find our services at Speak Volumes, Inc.
*I am a believer in the power of breath control. When breathing is controlled, a calm and a control over timing happens. It slows down speech and makes our brains work better. Make sure your breathing is deep and controlled while speaking.
Fillers are not evil nor unacceptable; they may just be overused. The goal is to communicate effectively and not to allow fillers to hinder connecting with your audience.
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