Um…. You know, like, those filler words…. uh… we all, like… use when we speak… are uh… practically… like, the worst!

Almost every person who speaks uses filler words of one kind or another.

It’s mostly done out of habit and without us even realizing that we’re doing it.

When it comes to your podcast… those filler words can really become, like, irritating to your, um…. uh… those people who listen to your show!

So how do you cut out those habitual filler words?

That’s what this show is all about.

Most of you don’t know my whole story. But that’s OK, I’m about to fill you in on some of it.

For over about 20 years I spent my life serving as a Pastor in a local church.

The only reason that’s important is that if you add up all the times I’ve spent before audiences, speaking, teaching, preaching, leading meetings, and all that… it’s probably pretty close to the amount of words a woman uses in one day.

Almost. 🙂

So I’ve had a lot of practice learning how NOT to use filler words.

That doesn’t mean I’m in any way… uhh…. cured of the problem.

It just means that I’ve learned some tricks to help me keep the filler words from filling those gaps in my speech that often get filled by filler words.

And I’m about to tell you my top 6 ways to get rid of them.

Getting rid of filler words

  • Tip #1: Assess your use of filler words

You can’t get rid of something or stop doing something if you’re not fully aware of its existence. So here are some ways you can go about analyzing how much you use filler words, and what filler words you’re using.

  1. Ask someone close to you to point out how you use filler words. And don’t get angry with them… you asked.
  2. Start paying attention to your conversations and make note of the frequency of your filler words.
  3. Make a mental list of the words you use to fill in spaces.
  4. Prioritize those words: Which one do you want to get rid of first? Make a choice and file it away in your brain as the first candidate for your “Filler word elimination project.”

Once you’ve got this figured out, you’re ready to move on to tip #2.

  • Tip #2: Take a moment to understand the REASONS behind your filler words

It’s obvious that we don’t use filler words because they are needed. So why do we use them?

  1. At times, our brains need time to catch up with our mouths.
  2. In other situations, we use them to communicate that we’re still thinking. “Well, uhhhhhhh… I’m not too sure about that. Hmmmm…. can I get back to you?”
  3. But a third reason, and the one I think is most common among podcasters and other public speakers is this: We’re uncomfortable with silence.

That last one is HUGE. Silence feels negative to us, especially if we are the ones providing the content everyone else is supposed to listen to (like in a speech… or a podcast).

But the reality is that silence is NOT a negative thing. Appropriately timed and placed silences… like that one, serve to keep attention and accentuate what we’re saying.

More on that one in a minute, let’s move on to tip #3.

  • Tip #3: Prepare more

I learned this one in my own public speaking experience. It’s like a math or science formula where one side of the equation always, ALWAYS balances out the other:

More preparation = less filler words

Less preparation = more filler words

So ask yourself, “How prepared am I? Am I ready to record this podcast episode?”

I’m not suggesting that you script out every word of your podcast (though I have talked about some possible advantages to doing that – that was in episode 7, which you can find by going to http://www.PodcastFastTrack.com/podcastscript).

What I am suggesting is that you feel entirely comfortable with the content you’re going to be presenting.

Know it. Understand it. Backwards and forwards.

The better you know what you’re talking about, the less you’ll use filler words.

And what if it’s a guest interview? You can’t be completely prepared in that case.

That’s where the next tip comes in…

  • Tip #4: Accept that pausing is OK

Like I mentioned earlier, allowing some space between phrases or sentences can SERVE your communication better in many cases.

We’ve all heard the phrase “dramatic pause.” That’s the point of what I’m saying here.

Every person who is a public communicator has to recognize that none of us speaks non-stop with no pauses.

None of us are expected to.

So allow yourself room for pauses. Allow yourself to BELIEVE that it’s OK to have some silence in your presentation.

Use those pauses to gather your thoughts, to consider HOW you’re going to say the next sentence, to draw in listener attention THROUGH the pause.

Don’t let nerves or the notion that you’ve got to fill in every pause cause you to resort to filler words.

This one takes some self-control, but you can do it.

And I believe that if you take the time to learn HOW to use pauses, you can make your communication even better.

A great resource I found is at the ChangingMinds.org website – http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/persuasive/pauses.htm. You can find a link to it in the show notes for this episode – http://www.PodcastFastTrack.com/fillerwords

Let’s move on to the next tip…

  • Tip #5: Slow down!

Many public speakers, especially those new to the role, speak far too fast.

Something about the setting, and the pressure, and the adrenaline, get our mouths moving faster than our brains can formulate good sentences.

When that happens, our brain has to do something while it’s figuring out what to say next…

And that’s where filler words slip right in.

An easy solution for much of that is to slow down.

Consciously learn to speak more slowly, deliberately.

You’ll find the need for filler words will vanish most of the time when you do.

  • Tip #6: Start a Filler Word Elimination Project

Do you remember back in Tip #1, I suggested you decide on the filler word you want to eliminate first?

This is where that word comes into play.

Begin to consciously listen for your use of that word – in presentations and in everyday speech.

Whenever you hear it escape your lips in the course of everyday speech – pause, take a deep breath, then restate the sentence or sentences WITHOUT the filler word.

As you do, set your mind to deliberately avoid that word. Reinforce your desire not to say it through making a conscious determination that it will NOT victimize your communication.

That may sound a little “woo woo” or strange, but it works. Your mind is powerfully effective in developing new patterns in your life.

Think about it… that’s how you got into the habit of using filler words in the first place, your mind subconsciously inserted them into your speech patterns without you even being aware of it.

Just think how quickly you might be able to get rid of them if you consciously worked on it!

That’s my 6 tips for getting rid of filler words

I’ve got 3 calls to action for you from this episode:

  • Do you have any tips you’ve discovered that help YOU get rid of filler words? I’d love to hear them. Go on over the the show notes page at www.PodcastFastTrack.com/fillerwords and leave me a comment.
  • If you’ve not left a rating and review for Podcastification on iTunes, please do so at http:www.PodcastFastTrack.com/review
  • Finally, if you’ve got a topic you’d love for me to cover on a future episode, or a question about any aspect of podcasting, please let me hear it – carey AT podcastfasttrack DOT com

Thanks for listening!

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