Do that sounds like you?
If it does, worry no more, in this post we cover how to get rid of the bain of a public speakers existence, filler words!
One of my favourite examples of helping someone drastically reduce their fillers is a Lawyer friend of mine named Dave. He was working to improve his public speaking because he had an upcoming speech for his sisters wedding. The first time I heard Dave speak, I was completely distracted, every other words was ah.
You can just imagine, “ah… hi my name is ah… Dave and ah… I’m here becuase ah…” You get the point. Fillers are distracting, they takes away from your message, and whether it’s true or not, gives your audience the impression that you don’t have full confidence in what your saying. No one want’s that. We want to be perceived as confident, charismatic and a figure of authority. And that’s why I broke down my best steps for eliminating filler words for you here!
The most important driver to change, is awareness. If you’re taking the time to read this post it’s likely that you’re aware that there is room for improvement in your communications. In order to eliminate filler words, you need to first recognize them.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Which one’s do you automatically use?
- How often do you use them?
- How much of a distraction are they?
Now that you now where you are, we can start making progress on where you want to be. I’ve found the next logical step to having awareness is to get a buddy who’s role is to make you aware daily. Have them look out for
your fillers! For example, I’ve given my girlfriend permission to call me out on my like’s and my so’s to help me continuously progress towards clear and more confident speech.
Start there, because without measurement and awareness of where you’re at, progress become sporadic and slow.
Could you imagine if we wrote how most people speak?
My post would have an ah or an um between each sentence! Clearly that would make no sense. The purpose of periods and commas are to demonstrate either a pause and break in our ideas. Without the pause, how are you supposed to process what I’m saying?
We need to translate that same idea to our speaking. Pausing is a pivotal tool in communication to express thoughts clearly and have them be heard. Unfortunately, as a speaker although it makes sense logically, it’s challenging emotionally to allow silence while on stage or in front of a group of people.
I see speakers every day who fill the gaps between their ideas and either distract or erode from their power. We need to see pausing in a different way. Silence does not detract from your message it enhances your message. Silence does not
make you look silly or incompetent, it makes you come
off as more thoughtful and contemplative. Finally, the pause allows your audience to connect with you, digest what your saying, and genuinely feel the emotions you’re trying to convey.
Once we flip our beliefs about silence and realize that pausing is actually our gift to the audience, you can embrace the pause and I guarantee you will automatically notice an immediate difference in the amount of fillers you use.
As much as using fillers can be distracting, nothing is worse than not being present in your conversations. In my obsessive journey with reducing fillers I found myself in a place where I wasn’t even having a conversation with people anymore. I was watching myself have a conversation with people, making sure I had perfect communication. It took a while for me to be present to the fact that no one’s perfect and there’s no need to obsess over fillers.
As Brendon Burchard wrote in his new book high performance habits,
“Over concern with making mistakes increases anxiety and decreases performance.”
Don’t obssess, focus on progress.
Have the awareness of which words trip you up, and than focus on inserting pauses where they show up. If you don’t obsess, and use those two powerful tips, I guarantee within weeks you’ll be perceived as more confident, thoughtful, and you’ll be above 90% of communicators that don’t care about what they sound like.
Till next time stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change your direction.”