Are you jeopardizing your credibility with UMs and UHs?
The room is full of business professionals all focused at the podium at the front of the room. The presenter appears relaxed and confident and begins the day’s program. Suddenly, small little words begin to creep into his presentation. I try to remember what he just said, but can not because I’m beginning to count the number of ‘UMs’ he is using.
After the meeting, he asked how he did – confident that it went well. I paused. Let him know he has a great message to deliver, and I could help him make it more clear and credible. He looked perplexed. (I get that a lot.) We made an appointment to meet later for feedback and coaching.
Are you loosing your audience to a game of counting UMs UHs and the like? Do you see them cringe and look away in the middle of your presentation? You could be jeopardizing your credibility and loosing their attention.
Why is it important to remove filler words?
First, your message gets buried between distracting filler words and no one will remember what you said, but rather that you used ‘um’ ‘uh’ ‘ok-so’ ‘like’ or others – every 3 to 5 words. All your work is overshadowed by these small killers.
Second, your credibility is disrupted by sending a message of doubt along with your key message. Do you know what you are talking about? Why can’t you remember?
Two Roads to Increased Credibility
There are two roads to clearing the way for your message to get through clearly.
- Focus on removing the filler words
- Hire a coach to help you prepare with phrasing and pausing
Both roads lead to a more confident and credible presentation. Choose which works best for you.
Focus on Removing Filler Words
This is a do-it-yourself approach in 3 steps.
- Build Awareness: Identify your filler words in two ways: a) by recording yourself while speaking or, b) by asking an honest but caring friend or colleague to give you feedback.
- Observation: Until we observe it ourselves, it is not real. Playback the recording and identify all of your filler words. Observe every conversation you have over the course of a week. Enlist the help of co-workers, your coach, etc to observe you during everyday conversations.
- Practice the Pause: Once you are aware of and have observed in how many situations you use filler words, it will be almost impossible NOT to notice them. This is the time to practice replacing your filler word with – nothing! That’s right, silence. This may be difficult at first, but with practice you will soon find your flow will improve and the pause will be minimal.
Phrasing and Pausing
Working with a coach (hint hint) you can discover more about phrasing and pausing. This is part of the preparation phase of PresentationYOU. Here you will use phrasing to create natural pauses and use preparation to increase your confidence.