Accepting this One Thing Will Make You a Better Speaker

September 13, 2018

Career Advice

Whether you’re giving a big speech in front of a crowd or simply presenting at a meeting with your closest coworkers, upping your speech game can only help you. Not only will you get your point across more effectively, you could also gain more respect and trust from your coworkers–and your boss. (And that’s always a good thing!)

What is one of the most common problems people have when speaking? You guess it… the dreaded “um,” “ah,” “like,” “so,” or “you know.” It’s a filler word or phrase that you use while you’re thinking. It can make you sound nervous or distracted or–even worse–unprepared. These words are crutches, and you need to stop using them. But how?

Instead of using the filler word or phrase, say nothing. That’s right. Say nothing! Accept the silence and be comfortable with a pause. We often feel the need to fill the silence with more words, but it’s perfectly okay to sit quietly and gather your thoughts. In fact, a pause can make us seem cool, calm, and collected–and it may even build some suspense and keep your audience glued to your words.

Still feel uncomfortable with the pause? During your next speech, any pause you take is likely much shorter than you think it is. This recent Harvard Business Review article points out that we think faster than we speak–a lot faster. That means we speak at 150 words per minute but we think at 400 words per minute, which can distort our perception of time. And if you let one crutch word slip, it’s ok. The occasional use can make you seem relatable. But the next time you feel one rolling off your tongue, bite it and stay quiet until you can gather your thoughts.

Via Institute for Web Science/Flickr.

About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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