Removing Unnecessary "Fillers" from Your Speaking
Let's face it… we all insert them in speeches:
"I… um… wanted to… um… talk today about… uh… the marketing report for the fourth quarter."
"Do you, like, want to hear, like, a story about what happened?"
"This book was very important for a long time, know what I mean? The author was heralded across the continent, know what I mean? It was an exciting time… know what I mean?"
What are They? FillersBasically, fillers are nothing more than repeated utterances that are unnecessary but incredibly commonplace, especially in casual conversations. However, though fillers are forgivable in a social setting, as a public speaker, it's important to say "adios" to them in order to sound more professional and exacting.
Yet like most ideals, removing one's preferred fillers is easier said than done. Oftentimes, we don't even realise that we use fillers - they become so deeply ingrained in the way we communicate that their presence doesn't register with us on a conscious level. But make no mistake - most of us have at least one (if not many) we tend to use.
In order to exorcise such vocabulary words (and vocal intonations such as "uhhh", "ummm", and "errrr"), it's important to take a few very critical steps; otherwise, your fillers will remain part of your personal "lingo" and make it difficult for audience members to enjoy your talks as much as possible.
Figure Out What Your Fillers AreThe best way to determine your preferred fillers is to record yourself talking and then play the recording back. Yes, this might seem painful, but it will allow you to spot your "weaknesses" immediately. For instance, you might never have had a clue that you tend to say "like" or "you know" every few words.
Of course, if you just cannot bring yourself to listen to yourself giving a speech, ask a trusted friend or relative to let you know what your "fillers" are. He or she can then help you spot your problem areas.
Practice Speaking for a Few Minutes at a TimeOnce you know your trouble spots, you can begin to eliminate the fillers from your speaking. Practice making speeches periodically (just 1-2 minutes will do), making certain to stay "in the moment" and catch yourself whenever a "filler" threatens to step into your phrasing.
Rehearse in this manner on a daily (or almost daily) basis; only then can you really be assured of "losing" your fillers.
Publicly Speak with IntentionAt your next public speech, say each word with intention, but try not to sound too "stilted" or robotic. This will involve a good deal of concentration on your part as the speaker; it may even prove to be exhausting mentally and physically. However, it will allow you to stop fillers from entering your wording.
If you do happen to insert a filler item here and there, don't be dismayed - speech making without any fillers takes a while and doesn't happen overnight. It's absolutely a journey.
Don't Greet New Fillers with Open ArmsAfter you've eliminated fillers from your speaking (at least for the most part), it's essential that you not allow other fillers to take their places. If one starts creeping into your vocabulary, show it the proverbial "door" at once.
The goal is to keep your speech as clean as possible - and your listeners will appreciate your hard work.