07751 617814 
julia@communicatewithconfidence.co.uk 
 
Empowering you to WOW your audience 
 
Er, um, you know, what I mean, like, actually, basically and stuff… 
 
Do any of these words and phrases sound familiar? 
 
Are these verbal fillers an issue or not? 
 
It depends on how many are falling out of your mouth and the context you’re speaking in. 
Let’s deal with how many, first of all. You may not know how many you’re saying so either record yourself speaking or ask someone to count them. Then you’ll have some idea, of whether for you you’re ok with the amount or not. So, maybe you don’t need to reduce them so that’s one thing you can cross off your busy to do list! 
If you’re sending a friend a voice note on what’s app then I suggest it doesn’t matter (unless you feel you’re saying too many) because these like’s and err’s are part of everyday conversation and most people say them. I’ve replayed some of my voice app messages and they .. um definitely have some in and that’s ok for me. 
 
If you have a keynote address, an important presentation, you’re speaking to the board, speaking with clients or potential clients or talking to your team then I suggest it’s something to consider. In these situations, I believe they do matter because if you are saying a lot they can be distracting for your audience and you can have less of the impact and gravitas you want to have. So even though you are amazing at what you do and have some fabulous things to share, what can be unconsciously communicated to your audience is that you’re not as competent as you know you are! And that’s something you probably don’t want. 
 
If you do decide you want to reduce them here’s a few things you can do ~ 
 
1. The good news is once you start becoming aware of them by recording yourself (on audio or video) then this alone can help them you say less – an easy win! 
 
2. Another thing which can help is to practice speaking and saying the word PAUSE when ordinarily you would have said the um, er or like. (Of course this won't be infront of your audience).  
 
3. Then practice saying the word PAUSE in you’re head instead of out loud. 
 
4. And when you’re saying the word PAUSE in your head close your mouth. 
 
It can take a bit of practice but then you’ll find you’re speaking more fluently which will increase your impact and gravitas to help your message land, which is what you want and need to do as a leader. If you want some more help reducing them then please get in touch and we can have a chat about how best I can help you. 
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