Once upon a time, I did a training session for a large accounting firm. During the session, we discussed filler words – “ums”, “uhs”, “likes”, “you knows”, the words we use as placeholders while we figure out what we want to say next.
They may seem innocuous. However, one workshop participant told me he started taking a tally of how many times one of his workshop instructors said a filler word. 126 times.
Here’s the thing, if your audience is more concerned with keeping track of how many times you say “um”, “uh” or “you know”, they’re not paying attention to your message and they’re not going to do what you want them to do. And in this participant’s case, he was taking a career development best practices workshop.
Start paying attention to how many times you use the ums uhs. Start paying attention to how many times your bosses use the ums uhs. And feel free to take a tally. I’m curious to see how many you hear in a week.
Eliminate the ums uhs. Watch your pace. Slow down.