Clarity in speech is something we all aim for. Everybody wants to sound like a great orator when they speak, not just on stage but also to each other. Clear speech makes one sound refined, strong and pedigreed.
One aspect of clear speech is not having filler words. What are filler words? It’s the use of the words “um”, “so”, “right” etc. between words in our speech. Most lately, we have “Like” that millenials use often.
These filler words are largely subconscious, and can sound very jarring to the person listening if it goes out of control. They are similar to stammering and also give an unprofessional look in client meetings or public speech.
Why do filler words come about?
Sometimes, they are a product of being unsure of your speech. Sometimes, it’s a habit or a result of heightened casualness. Most often, though, filler words come about as a result of your words moving faster than your mind. Your mind needs a minute to catch up when your speech rushes, and that is what makes it stop for a minute – which is filled with “um”s and “so”s.
The good thing is, this speech is controllable. Try the following steps to eliminate filler words from your speech.
The most important part is to be aware of your filler words and catch yourself. One way to do this is to tape yourself talking and listen to yourself intently.
Talk in a Rhythm
If you talk in a rhythm of chunked information – words/break/burst of words/break – there is less likelihood of you to have filler words in your speech.
Engaging with the listenerand making eye contact is a good way to encourage empathy and stop using filler words as you are more engrossed in the conversation.
Use words like “Lets move on to” or “Going forward” as planned transitions reduces the likelihood of you having to use transitions on the spot, which are often filler words.
Make yourself Nervous
One observation is that people tend to use filler words when they are being overly casual, and not formal enough. The nervousness that comes with being formal is what makes filler words creep in.