Do you constantly use filler words? Here’s how to stop…

So… do you like, do you want to stop, uh, using filler words when you talk?

Me too. Many of us use them and if you’ve ever tried to quit, you know, it’s hard! It might help…

A Harvard Business Review study states that “the average speaker uses five charges per minute, or one every twelve seconds.” “Like”, “uhm” and “ah” are poisoning our society’s vocabulary and discourse.

It is true that these words are distracting to the human ear and can interfere with what the speaker is actually trying to say. They can also make us appear nervous, distracted, or inauthentic when we use them. None of us are perfect though. We all have our own verbal crutches. Here are some tips to help you limit your use.

  • Register to find the words you use the most. Most of the time we don’t even realize we are saying them. Record yourself having a conversation and listen: Like, uh, uh, ah, uh, okay, so, well, you know, whatever, and you know what I mean.
  • Determine when you use filler words. Is it when you’re tired? Present in a meeting? Nervous when you’re put on the spot? During small talk with strangers?
  • Give yourself oral challenges. Challenge yourself to speak out loud for a minute without using filler words.
  • Ask a friend to call. Having someone call you can be eye-opening.
  • Accept breaks. Slow down and collect your thoughts before speaking. Instead of starting your sentence with “uh,” pause, think, and then respond.
  • Make short sentences. Avoid long compound sentences. When you reduce what your mind has to process, your fluidity improves.

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