It’s distracting when a speaker continuously says “um” or “ah” during a presentation. It can even make the speaker sound like s/he’s not sure of what to say. When people are distracted from what you’re saying, they lose out on what’s really important—your message. Sometimes, audience members will count the number of times the speaker uses “verbal tics,” instead of truly listening to the speech.
Another distracting speech tic is overuse of the expression “you know” and the word “like.” They can ruin a speaker’s credibility. Thankfully, these habits can be broken.
How To Avoid Verbal Tics
Make eye contact with your audience. When you’re looking at your audience directly, it’s more difficult to say “um” or “ah.” Most people use these filler words when they’re looking away, almost as though they’re “searching” for the next thing to say.
Like, How To Reduce “Filler Words,” You Know
Practice, Practice, Practice
Remember, your speech is a habit that is as old as you are. Breaking a habit is a great challenge. The more you work on it, the easier it will be.
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