How to Enhance Authority by Reducing Filler Words, by Maria Guida, ConnectRoot Speaker and Guest Blogger

One way to sound authoritative and enhance your credibility when you speak for business is to minimize your use of fillers (those words that fill our speech and add no content).  Some common fillers are um, uh, you know, so, and like.

Fillers often distract the listener and can decrease your projection of confidence and authority.  Minimizing your use of fillers can help you enhance your professional image.  Practice with a technique that actors use when they are preparing to speak extemporaneously:  

Set a timer for increasing time periods:  two minutes, then graduate to five minutes and then seven minutes, etc.  Record yourself as you speak in extended sentences on any topic of your choice.  (Choose a topic that you know well and enjoy speaking about.)   As you speak, imagine that each word that comes from your mouth is connected to the next one, which is connected to the next one, which is connected to the next one, and so on:  the way pearls are connected on a string of pearls.

Whenever you feel the urge to use a filler

  • Stop yourself
  • Say the filler silently to yourself

When the timer rings, play back the recording and monitor yourself for fillers.  Then, repeat the exercise with a new topic.

As you become comfortable with this exercise, increase the setting on the timer:  ten minutes, fifteen minutes, etc., until you can speak for twenty minutes straight (extemporaneously, on new topics), without the use of fillers.

When you practice this, over time, you will find that you are reducing the number of fillers that you use.  You will sound more confident and authoritative; you will increase your credibility, enhance your professional image, and get people to say YES faster!

Maria works with organizations who want to develop power speaking skills, to be more persuasive, productive, and profitable.  Learn more about Maria here.  If interested in having Maria speak at your upcoming event, contact Kelly@ConnectRoot.com