Filler Words are Killer Words: How to Not Ruin Your Next PresentationJill Schiefelbein
When nervousness enters the picture, we often behave in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise. During presentations, one of these nervous behaviors is the use of filler words. Filler words, or those nervous utterances that escape our mouths when we are scared or uncertain about what to say next, diminish the credibility of the speaker when used frequently.
“Um” “uh” “like” and others are filler words. They can kill a presentation, make your audience lose complete interest, and make you sound less than credible. Most of the time the reason people use these utterances, or other variations, is because when they’re on stage giving a presentation they feel like, as the speaker, they need to never stop talking.
That is not the case.
Let’s talk about eliminating those filler words from your presentation. The way to do it? Silence.
A strategic pause goes a long way towards eradicating filler words from your speech. It’s also a way to increase your credibility as a speaker. When you transition, pause. When you ask a question to your audience, pause. When you make a key point, pause.
Give your audience the space to process what you’ve said. In this time, your words are allowed to sink in and have more impact.
Imagine this scenario:
You’re giving an important presentation to a potential client. In the middle of the pitch, you need a second to gather your thoughts. You’re afraid to be silent, thinking your audience will believe you don’t know your information. You start to use filler words. “Uh, um…”
Your credibility goes down tubes, as does the momentum of your pitch.
Instead, use a strategic pause. Finish your thought. Pause. Look around the room into the eyes of your audience. And then dive right back into your presentation.
To see an example of this in action, check out my YouTube video on “Eliminate Um and Uh”