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Word Whiskers we need to shave off in a speech

“Communication skills training is uhm.. a very good investment because ahh.. it will allow you to like uhm.. take your career to uhh.. greater heights.”

Isn’t it annoying to read? What more if you have to listen to a whole 10-minute speech full of these nonsensical expressions?

What are Word Whiskers?

Word whiskers appear in two different situations. First, speakers use little expressions such as “uhm” or “ahh” as word fillers to give them ample time to think when they are not yet particularly sure of the next best word to say. On the other hand, some people unconsciously use word whiskers such as “like” or “y’know” out of habit or mannerism.

Here are some of the most common word whiskers:

  • Uhm
  • Uhh
  • Ahh
  • Err
  • Like
  • Y’know
  • Well
  • Now
  • Actually

Not all the words listed here should necessarily be eliminated completely. Sometimes, the use of “like,” “well,” “now,” “actually,” etc. is still inevitable. The key here is to use these words meaningfully and in moderation.

How to Eliminate Word Whiskers?

Excessive use of whiskers hampers speakers from delivering a smooth-flowing presentation. Not only are they useless, but they also tend to be really distracting!

You don’t want that to happen, do you? So here’s what you have to do.

Acknowledge your whiskers

If it comes out of habit, it is more likely that you are not aware of it. So go and take a recording of yourself while doing a presentation or ask others to listen to you while you speak. List down all the recurring word whiskers that you found out and make a conscious effort to eliminate these particular words.

Don’t be afraid to pause

If you’re the type of speaker who uses word whiskers as fillers, keep this in mind. There’s nothing wrong with taking a brief pause and allowing your mind to take a couple of seconds to think about how to express yourself while moving on to the next idea. So be comfortable with it! Rather than distracting your audience with your meaningless word whiskers, create a sense of anticipation for your listeners by making brief pauses.

Practice, practice, practice

Our best advice will always be to practice. You don’t necessarily have to memorize your whole speech or presentation. You just have to make sure that you know your topic at the back of your hand. Practice as much as you can until you become comfortable speaking about it. When you confidently know what you will be talking about, you won’t worry about finding the right words to say anymore because you know that it is the thought that truly, ultimately matters.

If you can’t seem to shake off this bad habit by yourself, feel free to ask for help from our expert public speaking coaches here at Speech IONIZERS. We conduct communication skills trainings that can help you master the ability to speak fluently during speeches and presentations. Contact us today!

Word whiskers like Uhms

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