Um, like, you know…this is a lot harder than it sounds, right? When speaking, whether publicly or just in conversation, we often default to filler words when our brain is searching for the next thing to say. So how do you kick filler words out of your life? Here are a few helpful tips!
Develop an Awareness
First thing’s first: Figure out which words you use most frequently. Do you say “like” after just about every sentence? Or do you use “um” to fill those silences? Whichever are your biggest offenders, make sure you pay attention to them so that you can begin actively changing them out for more meaningful verbiage.
Film Yourself Talking
You’re more than likely unaware of how often you rely on filler words. So take a minute and film yourself telling a story. You can then watch it back and determine your problem areas.
Accept the Fact That You Won’t Be Perfect
When we’re trying to kick a habit, we often wish to quit cold turkey and be successful. However, unlearning filler words is a process; you’re not going to be perfect right away. Allow yourself to embrace the entirety of the journey.
Work on Confidence Building
In addition to waiting for your brain to catch up to your mouth, another reason we resort to filler words is that we lack confidence in what we’re saying. Work on building that confidence over time (or become familiar with presentation materials) to enhance your ability to speak without fillers.
Learn to Love Pauses
Another likely reason you’re using filler words is to fill those awkward, silent pauses as your brain assesses the next thing you should say. So rather than relying on filler words, just take the opportunity to embrace the silence and live within it.
Put in the Work
Kicking fillers out of your life is easier said than done, and it’s a fair amount of work. Don’t expect to kick the habit immediately, and don’t be afraid to mess up. So long as you’re actively trying to fix the problem, you’re well on your way to improving your speaking skills.
Filler words can come across as unprofessional in a professional setting and can even deter your listener from wanting to converse with you in a non-professional setting. But not to worry! With these helpful tips, those words can be out of your life in no time!