One of the benefits of speaking at a Toastmasters meeting is having a designated person record your ums, ahs and overused words or filler sounds used as a crutch while speaking. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah, um or er.
These words and sounds come out of your mouth automatically when your brain is thinking of the rest of the sentence. One of the reasons we use ums or ahs as a filler sound is because we do not allow ourselves to pause by means of silence. The pause is effective as long as it is not overused. Instead of saying the um or ah when you feel it slipping out of your mouth, pause, take a quick breath, and then continue speaking.
If you want to get serious about reducing the filler words, record your speech with your phone. Listen to yourself and concentrate on when and how often you say these utterances so you recognize when it is happening.
If your speech has numerous filler words, your audience will concentrate less on your message and more on your interrupters. Projecting a confident image and sounding professional involves eliminating bad habits and establishing good ones. You are judged not only by what you say but how you say it.
This article from the Toastmasters Magazine gives more insight into Cutting out Filler Words. A subscription to Toastmasters Magazine is included with your membership.
Come to a Vancore Toastmasters meeting on Wednesday at 3 pm. Practice makes perfect!