One of the things I get asked the most as a Communication Coach is ‘how do I stop saying ‘erm’ and ‘um’ when I’m speaking? We’ve all probably noticed ourselves doing at some point and those pesky little words just sneak their way into our sentences without us even realising it!

There’s a nifty little trick to thin them out a little and it’s all about slowing down and taking a pause. Yep, that’s right – just hit the brakes and give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts.

When we’re in full speaking mode, our brains can sometimes struggle to keep up. That’s when our old friends ‘erms’ and ‘uhs’ come barging in, trying to buy us some time while we figure out what to say next.

When I first started my podcast, The Leadership Insights Podcast, I noticed it a lot. Luckily, I can edit quite a few out but it is so time consuming! I’m gradually retraining my brain to practice what I preach. It’s not something you notice in yourself until you have to listen to your own voice in a video or podcast and it can be a painful process for many!

So, the next time you catch yourself slipping into filler word mode, try taking a pause instead. Take a breath, collect your thoughts, and then speak. What you have to say will be delivered with more clarity. Imagine your listener trying to keep up with your brain!

Here’s another little trick: swap out those filler words for something a bit more articulate, like ‘so’ or ‘well.’ Trust me, it works like a charm. It might feel a little strange at first, but with a little practice, you’ll notice those filler words starting to fade.

So there you have it, the secret to banishing those annoying filler words once and for all. Slow down, take a breath, and swap them out for something a little more stylish. Before you know it, you’ll be speaking like a pro!

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