Dear Public Speaking Gods,

Please help me learn how to speak without saying “um” all the time.  And without, um, having to take classes for it, ’cause that doesn’t sound really fun.

Yours,

Chris

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4 responses

  1. I’ve found that aversion therapy works pretty well. I remember years ago watching a friend give a really really serious talk about something, and another friend beside me started counting how many times he said “um”. He’d whisper, “Up to 20…” then “…that makes 50…” and “…92!” in my ear, and I started giggling horribly while my friend was giving this really really serious talk. I never had the heart to tell him why I couldn’t stop laughing at his seriousness, but it made me immensely aware of that “um” whenever I spoke to anybody, for fear someone like my other friend might be keeping count…

    But you’re on the right track, because first must come the desire to change. 😉

  2. First, cattle prods don’t work. Chinese water torture didn’t work that well either.

    It is actually a good problem. The fact that your using them means your pausing, something many speakers have difficulty learning. Now, just make them silent pauses.

    And that is the secret of great public speaking. During those pauses, the best speakers are saying micro prayers that they do a great job.

    So instead of Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, ummmm, bla, bla it will become …bla ((silently…) God help me) bla, bla, bla.

    http://www.speechmastery.com/word-whisker-elimination.html

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