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So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words?

From The New York Times:

So, how do you, like, um, stop using verbal fillers that can make you sound, you know, nervous or not so smart?

Is there a name for this?

Communications experts describe “um,” “aah,” “you know” and similar expressions as discourse markers, interjections or verbal pauses.

They often occur when we are trying to think of the next thing we are going to say, Susan Mackey-Kallis, an associate professor at Villanova University who teaches public speaking, said in an email.

When stakes are high or we are nervous — in a job or media interview, or during a speech, presentation or conference call — we tend not to breathe as much and we talk faster, so our words get ahead of our thoughts, Lisa B. Marshall, a communications expert and the author of “Smart Talk: The Public Speaker’s Guide to Success in Every Situation,” said in an interview.

In some cases, the phrases are used to signal that you are about to say something and that the person listening should not interrupt, or that you are going to say something you want to emphasize, said Emily Tucker Prud’hommeaux, an assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a leader of its Computational Linguistics and Speech Processing Lab.

“In fact, if you listen to someone use ‘like,’ you’ll sometimes notice that the next noun or verb or adjective that comes along sounds more prominent,” she said in an email. “You want the listener to pay attention.”

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By | March 4, 2017 | Media Training, Speaker Training

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