How to Stop Saying Words Like Um, Er, and Uh in Speaking ? Before we dive into how to stop saying these words, I’d like you try three mindfulness exercises.
How to Stop Saying Words Like Um, Er, and Uh in Speaking
Listen to Yourself
First, practice awareness as you go about your normal daily, regular conversations. Listen intently for any circumstances where you might say a filler word or sound. Under what situations are you most likely to say filler words? Make a note of any patterns you find.
Listen to Rehearsals
Secondly, practice awareness as you rehearse. When you review the video of your rehearsal, note when you use filler words. What patterns arose? How did your use of filler sounds compare to your use of fillers in everyday conversations?
Give Yourself a Break
Third, give yourself a break. A few ums and ahs are probably not going to ruin your presentation. It’s even likely that they will go entirely unnoticed. It’s only when you persistently overuse a filler word that they become distracting for your audience. Practicing these three mindfulness exercises may be all you need to do to significantly reduce verbal tics from your speech. Many people find that simply being aware of their own verbal text helps prevent their overuse.
How to Prevent Using Crutch Words?
If you’d like to dive a little deeper into preventing verbal tic abuse, consider these three insights.
1. Try to Relax
If you notice that you tend to use more filler words when you are nervous or you feel under pressure, relax; it probably means you are normal. Most people who undergo mindfulness exercises find that they increased their um rate when they feel stressed out. I like to give myself a positive remainder. I’ll say to myself internally, okay, that’s your last um for the day. If I say that to myself, I can’t help but smile a little. Reducing the stress with a little positive reinforcement reduces the ums.
2. Reduce or Avoid Stress
Secondly, you can reduce the situations that cause you stress. So if you’re thinking, oh! But it’s public speaking that gives me stress, so I’m doomed. Well, guess again. You can greatly minimize the stress of public speaking by preparing and properly rehearsing your presentation. As a result, your filler word rate will go way down.
3. Using Bullet Points
Lastly, I want to share a story with you about the danger of using bullet points in your presentation. When I ask students to come to the head of the class and share the results of a group brainstorming session, most begin by reading a list. Before every item on the list, they usually say, um; however, when I ask the student to tell me a story that illustrates a point on the list, the verbal fillers almost disappear. When we share stories, we are much less likely to use those filler words. However, when we read or memorize lists, we are far more likely to add filler words. Go through your presentation. Find any areas where you might be reading a list or using bullet points.
Eliminating bullet points not only eliminates the ums from your presentation, it helps you to better engage your audience with more powerful storytelling.