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Avoid the Filler Trap: Part 3, Anticipate and Pause

Over the last few posts, we’ve discussed what filler words are, how they harm your speech and message, and how you can become more aware of your filler word usage. This week we conclude our series on filler words with the final steps in the filler reduction process: Anticipate and Pause.

Last week we discussed becoming more aware of which filler words you use and in which situations you most often use them. Using this information, you should now be able to anticipate when you will most likely use filler words as well as which ones you most commonly use. This anticipation is a key tool in filler word reduction. In order to use it to your advantage, begin by choosing a specific time in your daily routine in which you will be particularly conscious of your filler word usage. For example, you may choose a meeting with your colleagues or the time in which you return your voicemails. Whichever situation you select, during this period, closely monitor your speech and take note of when you feel tempted to use a filler word.

Now the last step in our process comes into play: pause. Although this sounds deceptively easy, it is difficult for many speakers. Most people feel self-conscious using silence in a conversation, but a well-timed pause sounds far more professional and confident than filling the silence with fillers like “umm” and “well”. When you are tempted to use a filler word, simply stop for a moment. This will give you the opportunity to gather your thoughts. In addition, it gives your listener the chance to process your message, helping to make your speech more comprehensible.

Using filler words is difficult habit to break for many speakers, but it is worth the time and effort to lessen your dependence on them. Fillers can create confusing speech, and can make you appear unprofessional, unsure of yourself, and less competent about the topic at hand. Using the four step process outlined in this blog—Awareness, Recognizing Your Personal Patterns, Anticipate, and Pause—you can reduce your filler word usage and improve the fluency and professionalism of your speech.

While the tips in our blog our helpful, if you would like more personalized help in mastering the skill of filler word reduction, contact Corporate Speech Solutions or visit our website at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com.

Stay tuned: next week, we will discuss strategies for helping you communicate effectively in telephone communication.