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Everyone has a reputation as a speaker. Yes, even you. Even if you don’t make a living presenting, you have a reputation as a speaker based on your ability to share a concise and clear message with your audience. But even if you’re not the best presenter, a simple technique can help you improve your speaking ability. Do you find yourself saying “um,” “basically,” or “like” when you talk to others? This is called “weak language,” and it can bring down your presentations and conversations. "Every sound, syllable, or noise that comes out of our mouth either helps our message or hurts our message," said Tim Fortescue, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. "There's nothing in the middle." So, the one of the most effective things you can do to change your speaking habits for the better is to eliminate this weak language. Obviously, this is easier said than done. However, there’s a little trick you can use that will help you ditch these filler words: pause. Learn how to pause when you’re talking to others. If you can’t think of what to say next, instead of saying “um,” don’t say anything. Take the pause. Relax. Don’t be afraid of the silence. If you want to start incorporating this habit, the first thing to do is identify what your “word” is when you speak. Is it “like’? Or “so”? Or “um”? What is it? Understanding what your “word” is will make you more aware of when you use it. And being aware of when you use that word will allow you to stop, relax, and plan about your next thought. It will allow you to pause. If you can do this for four days, you’ll build better habits and become a better speaker. What's your reputation as a speaker? Want to increase your communication skills? Check out our course "How To Improve Your Communication Skills At Work" to become a better communicator and learn how to work with others more effectively.

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