Um, like and being heard – The 200 words project

2 years ago, I tried cutting out “um”/”you know”/other such filler words from my language. That initiative went nowhere. Recently, however, I’ve been able to make more progress thanks to a post on Seth Godin’s excellent blog.

As Seth explains – “For a million years, people have been judging each other based on voice. Not just on what we say, but on how we say it. I heard a Pulitzer-prize winning author interviewed on a local radio show. The tension of the interview caused an “um” eruption—your words and your approach sell your ideas, and at least on this interview, nothing much got sold.
Or consider the recent college grad who uses thirty or forty “likes” a minute. Hard to see through to the real you when it’s so hard to hear you.”

Acknowledging that you can’t remove this verbal tic by willing it away (as I had tried before), Seth suggests that we don’t try to rid ourselves of the “um” or “like.” Instead, aim to simply replace it with a pause. We don’t need to keep making sounds to keep our place as the speaker. So, we should talk as slowly as needed to until speeding up feels comfortable.

The best part: Our default assumption is that people who choose their words carefully are quite smart. Like you. – Seth Godin

Thanks to – image source