CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – DECEMBER 2, 2020
#3-Kill the Filler
Like. Um. You Know. Uh. Okay. We all have words that we use as crutches to help us navigate from one thought to the next or to deal with uncomfortable silences. My initial understanding prior to doing Toastmasters was that most people mix and match the most common filler words frequently into their conversations. However, after having watched a number of my own speech recordings and observed others in our club speak consistently, I now know the truth: we each have our own pet filler words that show up with remarkable consistency. Nearly every time I speak, I get feedback that I used something like, “2 ums and 6 you know’s”. It’s never the ‘likes’ or the ‘uh’s’ that trip me up..always those miserable ‘ums’ and ‘you knows’. It’s easy to think of these fillers as harmless or even to embrace them (“They’re a natural part of my speech pattern!”), but I can say from having observed and evaluated the performance of a large number of speakers that filler words significantly diminish the impact and effectiveness of one’s message and make a person appear less intelligent than they really are. How should one go about correcting these verbal tics? My advice would be to observe yourself speaking as much as possible. One option is to have a friend or family member observe you giving a speech (at Toastmasters, speeches are recorded for you). Another option, which I have embraced recently, is reviewing recordings of your video meetings at work in order to identify and cut back on your use of filler words. Zoom conference, which we use at Stackmatix, automatically records all of your video meetings, which makes reviewing them later incredibly easy.
Or your friends could take a shot every time you say a filler word (credit: “How I Met Your Mother”)
#4-Two Ways to Speak Successfully
A concern I have heard from a number of friends on why they haven’t joined Toastmasters is that they are worried they’ll be taught a rigid and formulaic style of speaking which won’t resonate with them. In other words, they think Toastmasters will turn them into some sort of corporate, cookie cutter, 1950’s parody who starts wearing sweater vests and uses phrases like, “oh, swell!” Thankfully, I can say that this has definitely not been my experience. While there is no science behind it, my own theory is that there are two types of speakers that are typically judged well by others: