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Challenge: Stop Saying “Um” When You’re Speaking

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Today’s Work It Daily Challenge is to stop saying “um” when you’re speaking.

Oh, the innocent old “um.” It creeps into your speech without your knowledge and haunts you when you give a presentation. Filler words like “um” and “like” are communication crutches that we all use once and awhile. Today, we’re going to help you break the habit!

There are several things that can trigger filler words like “um” and “like,” including nervousness, lack of confidence, poor speaking habits, and so on.

Most of us don’t even hear ourselves saying these words. However, if you’re having a conversation with someone or leading a big presentation, those filler words can be very apparent – even annoying – to others.

Accidentally saying “um” and “like” can make others think that you aren’t confident in what you’re saying or can’t articulate your thoughts.

Analyze your speaking habits. When do you use filler words the most? What filler words do you use? Why do you feel you need to use them? Do you feel nervous? Do you need a transition word? Do you just need time to formulate a thought? Understanding the when, what, and why will allow you to be more aware of your communication habits.

Today, be hyper-aware of what you’re saying to others. Notice when you say “um,” “like,” or other filler words. If you feel like you need to use one of these words, take a pause and formulate your next thought in your head.

If you can train yourself to stop saying “um” when you’re speaking, you’ll be a more confident presenter and communicator.

What are your tricks for killing filler words? What did you do to stop saying “um” when you’re speaking? Tell us!

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Ariella Coombs Ariella is the Content Strategist and Career Coach for Work It Daily. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.