How to Finally Stop Saying Um and Uh
Like, um, uh, or erm—whatever your personal poison, we all do it. It being using these little, harmless-enough filler words when we're speaking to help fill the spaces between our composed thoughts.
But as much as a stray "um" isn't going to tank your public speaking prowess or ruin a first impression, it is a bad habit that we would all do well to be conscious of. If your profession has you orating often, using these verbal crutches can become an unwanted distraction and may cause people to think That's a bit annoying, actually, rather than Wow, great point.
So, what's the best way to replace these words and adopt clearer speech patterns? The answer is simple, though a bit challenging, depending on how chatty you tend to be.
The best replacement of a "like" or an "uh" is silence. Yep, a good old-fashioned pause is the most effective alternative. Not only does it give you a moment to re-gather your thoughts, but it actually serves a practical function for your delivery. According to Business Insider, these brief one to two second pauses draw your audience in: "If I create brief moments of quiet, it makes people lean in and think, 'What's he going to say next?'"
The next time you're delivering a speech or a story and you feel an "um" coming on, try to pause. After all, having your listener on anticipatory pins and needles is the hallmark of all good storytellers.
Need a little inspiration? Read these books most likely to give you your next big idea.
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