An easy trick for eliminating the ‘ums’ and ‘uhhs’ from your speech

You might not realize it, but chances are you drop at least a couple verbal crutches during 30-seconds of speaking. Here’s a way to squelch them.

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I began my media career as a small-town radio DJ.

My program director was concerned that I uttered too many “uhhhs” and “umms” on the air. (Oddly, he was unconcerned with his playlist, which included Michael Bolton, Debbie Boone, and The Captain and Tennille.)

He taught me a technique that helped me find a smooth radio delivery, and it’s a strategy that works for media spokespersons who use a few too many “uhhhs” and “ums” during their interviews.

Here’s how it works. Look around the room, and find an object. Don’t think about it. Just find an object, and shout it out. (“Printer!”)

Now begin speaking about that object for 30 seconds. Time it. You’re not allowed to use “uhhhs” or “ummms,” but you are allowed to briefly pause between sentences. Don’t worry too much about the words you choose—just let them flow. My 30-second drill about the printer looked like this:

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