“Practice makes perfect” never gets old, but anyone can do it to excel. You don’t just practice your corporate presentations’ flow – you have to practice how to deliver them. You can lose credibility by constantly using filler words while delivering your message. Find out what filler words are and what you can do to start presenting more like a pro.
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What are Filler Words?
Filler words are any words that pad your presentation’s length but add nothing meaningful to the discussion. Sometimes, you can’t help but use filler words or phrases such as “uh,” “um,” and “you know.“ They can also come in longer forms, such as “at the end of the day,” “you need to remember,” and “just keep in mind.”
How Filler Words Affect Your Presentation
Most presenters use filler words when they pause to avoid dead air during their speech. However, they have negative consequences, such as:
- Distracting your audience from what you’re saying.
- Lessening your credibility, if done repeatedly.
- Distorting the message you want to convey.
Ways to Cut Back on Filler Words
1. List Down Your Ideas
Don’t rely too much on your presentation deck. Your corporate presentations serve as your visual aid, not your script. List down your presentation’s most important points to serve as your guide. When you know what you’re supposed to say at any given point, you’re less likely to panic and utter random words.
2. Deliver Your Pitch In Front of a Mirror
Practice delivering your pitch to boost your confidence while speaking. You’ll be better prepared and sure of what comes after each section of your corporate presentations. You don’t need to memorize your lines, but remember that every word you speak should go back to your main idea. Practice also reduces nervousness and lets you choose better ways to deliver your ideas.
3. Learn to Pause and Breathe
Avoid speaking too fast. Giving yourself enough time to think about what you’ll say next prevents you from filling the dead air with unnecessary utterances. If you list your ideas beforehand, you can remove unnecessary words during your rehearsals.
Avoiding filler words can be difficult if you’ve gotten used to it, but it’s possible to curb the habit. Constantly practice to stop uttering nonsense, and you’ll gradually improve your pitches. It’s not about memorization, but knowing your topic inside and out. Confidence in your topic boosts confidence in yourself.
Eventually, you’ll become more confident in yourself as a presenter, with complete thoughts and ideas. When you’ve got solid pitches, you won’t need to pad them with fillers ever again.
“Um, Is This, You Know, a Filler Word?” About.com Education. Accessed May 11, 2015. http://grammar.about.com/od/fh/g/fillerterm.htm
“Why Public Speakers Should Cut Out Filler Words.” The Accidental Communicator. 2012. Accessed May 11, 2015. http://theaccidentalcommunicator.com/rehearse-2/why-public-speakers-should-cut-out-filler-words