No matter how well you know your subject and your speech, you will sound unprepared if you pepper your remarks with filler sounds and words. The “Ums” and “Uhs” that you utter to fill the silence as you think of your next comment, or repeated use of words and phrases like “Basically” and “You know,” tell the audience that you don’t know what you want to say.
The solution is surprisingly simple: Keep your mouth shut. Silence is better than a filler. When you pause, you give the impression that you are thoughtful. You prepare the audience members to hear your next point, instead of distracting them.
The silence will seem much longer to you than it will to listeners, so train yourself to be comfortable with that pause.
What bad habit are you trying to curb to become a better speaker?
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[Image Source: Chris Fournier]