Nothing drives listeners crazier and makes them tune out more than someone, who, like, is always, uh, you know, sprinkling their, um, presentations with, you know, non-words, right? These filler words ruin the clarity of your message and reflect badly on you as a professional. Here are five suggestions for getting rid of these presentation killers.
- Make sure you are ending your sentences emphatically and not singggging into the next one. When people singggg, they frequently use non-words as fillers to their next thought. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, they just can't stop, so they use non-words to keep the noise going.
- Have a friend quietly say your name every time they hear you use a non-word. You will begin to hear yourself beginning to use the non-word and then you can work on pausing rather than saying it.
- Get used to silence. Audio tape yourself and pause rather than say the non-word. You will see that what seems like an eternity to you is merely a second to listeners. Also, pausing will give you more control over what you are thinking and saying and you will feel much more confident.
- Speak as if your listeners have English as a second language. When we do that, we automatically slow down, enunciate more clearly, phrase better and inflect more effectively. We also tend to eliminate the non-words.
- More aggressive tactic: Every time a friend notices your use of a non-word, give them a dollar! It is amazing how quickly you will stop using those non-words when it costs you something!
Like a flies in your soup, while the soup may be very good, the flies' presence (your non-words) ruins the dining experience (your presentation). Moreover, nothing communicates junior, insecurity,or lack of professionalism like meaningless non-words or non phrases. It pays to work on banishing them from all your conversations and presentations.
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