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Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

  • 1.  Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Aug 03, 2018 04:20 PM
    Many of us aren't comfortable speaking in front of a group, I know my confidence is inversely impacted by the size of the group.  I saw this article and have saved it so I can identify and practice not using my own filler words.
    I thought others may find it useful as well.
    Does anyone else have any tips or tricks for increasing confidence during public speaking?

    How to Stop Saying "Um," "Ah," and "You Know"
    Harvard Business Review remove preview
    How to Stop Saying "Um," "Ah," and "You Know"
    Executive Summary When you get rattled while speaking - whether you're nervous, distracted, or at a loss for what comes next - it's easy to lean on filler words, such as "um," "ah," or "you know." These words can become crutches that diminish our credibility and distract from our message.
    View this on Harvard Business Review >


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    Jody Cronk
    Inventory Accountant
    Sutphen Corporation
    Dublin OH
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  • 2.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Aug 06, 2018 01:25 PM
    I read this article over the weekend and found it very helpful. It was also helpful to have someone watch me present and tell me the triggers for saying "Um". I learned that I really only use filler words when I try to read my notes. I had to remember it's ok to pause and read. This also gives listeners a time to catch up and potentially ask questions. Knowing my tendencies help me to be more on the lookout for those bad habits and start correcting.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    Kylie Kiser
    Supervisor, CRM System
    Edelman Financial
    Fairfax VA
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  • 3.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Sep 10, 2018 04:21 PM
    How I love this article!!

    As professional women in the workplace we absolutely need to speak educated to our audience!
    I know in all my years of attending toastmasters and how to speak in public, they tell you exactly what the articles says.
    People have missed your point if you cannot stop saying um, ah, and or so!!
    Thank you for sharing this article!!

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    Tonya Anderson
    Global Partner Engagement Manager
    Dynamic Communities
    Fargo ND
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  • 4.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Sep 10, 2018 04:31 PM
    I once attended a speaking workshop where someone made a noise, like throwing a rock in a tin bucket, EVERY time I said a filler word like 'Umm' etc. It really made me realize how often I said it. Although I will say I was too rattled by the noises to correct myself mid-speech during this exercise, so I'd recommend repeating it a few times!

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    Marghet Hager
    Member Community Manager
    Dynamic Communities
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  • 5.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Sep 11, 2018 09:35 AM
    Thank you for sharing.  I just listened to a recording of myself that was part of a webinar and was appalled at how many times that I said Um and so. I had zero time to prepare for this particular webinar - it was not a presentation, but an update to members of a group that I chair., but I was still surprised at the number of fillers that I used.  Also, after listening to myself, it made be think about "upspeak"  I started reading some articles online about the subject.  I don't go as far as ending sentences that sound like a question, but I definitely have a tendency to raise the pitch at the end of the sentence.  I thought it sounded fairly natural (and I am my own worst critic), but worry that there is some perception that the speaker lacks confidence.  Any thoughts on "upspeak"?

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    Kathy Kim
    Director of Finance
    Donor Network of Arizona
    Phoenix AZ
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  • 6.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Sep 11, 2018 10:52 AM
    ​This is a great article as I start to prepare for my Summit presentation, it's a month out and I'm already nervous and I can hear the filler words filling my head.


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    Sherry Moran ~ AXUG All-Star
    Project Manager
    SAGlobal
    Milton Freewater OR
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  • 7.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Sep 11, 2018 10:57 AM
    Thanks for sharing! I am a terrible "um"-sayer when speaking! I've found that if I stick a small post-it note to the corner of my monitor with "UM" written on it, it makes me more cognizant and helps me to simply pause instead of using a filler word.

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    Michelle Lowry
    Director of Member Communities
    Dynamic Communities
    Arlington VA
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  • 8.  RE: Um, So, You Know ... Are filler words distracting your audience

    Posted Sep 12, 2018 09:45 AM
    I have been working on this for years. Filler words are very distracting, and um, unfortunately I am now more in tune than ever when I hear these in other presentations.

    In my role, I constantly "present" information to workmates, customers and to larger groups at events like Summit and Chapter Meetings. For me, it is not the size of the group that brings out the "ums," it is the complexity of the material and/or my lack of familiarity.

    To overcome filler words, I concentrate on a pause or breath at the completion of every sentence. This provides multiple advantages.
    1. You can't talk a breath and say "um" at the same time
    2. Sets a better tempo or pace
    3. Calms nerves
    I have also found that if I do something in the beginning of my presentation to relate or humanize myself to my audience, I am more relaxed reducing filler words. For example, I may tell a story about making a mistake or not understanding something. This hopefully allows me to laugh with them (relaxing) as they react to my story and it shows that even though I may be the "expert" at the front of the room today, I am just like them. I also interject humor and ask for responses from my audience regularly throughout. The more conversational my presentation, the less likely I am to use filler words.

    To my fellow Summit session presenters - Good Luck!

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    Cynthia Priebe
    Senior Business Analyst and Project Manager
    Liberty Grove Software
    Grafton OH
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