Own the Pause and Eradicate Filler Words Forever.

Every speaker will include filler words or sounds in their everyday conversation; they will umm or aah as they wrangle their thoughts, or try to recall specific information. In day to day speech, this isn’t a big issue—unless repeated constantly. However, in more professional or businesslike settings, we avoid these fillers as they dilute our message and throw a roadblock in the way of the listener. We come across as hesitant and unsure of our material.

The reason most people fall back on these filler words (like, you know, etc.) is that they are uncomfortable with the silence that results when they pause to gather their thoughts. 

This discomfort is exacerbated when they cannot gauge the response of their listeners, say, on a phone call, or to a lesser extent, a video call. Sitting with the silence feels awkward, so they fall back on the familiar old crutch of filler words.

Tip: own the pause! When you find yourself about to um or ah, stop, stay silent, and work out what you want to say, then continue. Not only will this keep your message flowing, but it conveys control and authority; you are confident enough to live with the few seconds of silence.

Practice on friends and family, and soon it will become an ingrained habit.