Infographic: How to tamp down verbal fillers

Repeatedly saying ‘like’ or ‘um’ diminishes your credibility—and makes your audience want to jump through the nearest window. Here’s how to stop annoying speech patterns.

Um, have you ever noticed, like, how annoying, ya know, verbal fillers are?

We are all guilty of uttering extraneous “likes,” “ums” and “you knows”—especially when we’re nervous or searching for the right words. However, there are ways to combat these spoken speed bumps.

Quid Corner has composed an infographic to help you fight the good fight against verbal fillers. The piece opens with compelling reasons to cut the conversational clutter, including:

  • You will come across as more assertive.
  • You will seem more interesting when you speak.
  • You will appear more trustworthy.
  • You will come across as less lazy.

The piece then offers seven steps to “stop saying ‘like’ all the time.”

The tips include:

  • Pause before you speak. Taking a moment to gather your thoughts improves your chances of uttering better, more concise phrasing.
  • Speak more slowly. Some folks talk so fast that their brains can’t keep up. Speak deliberately, and give your mind time to formulate the right words.
  • Maintain eye contact with the person you’re talking to. According to public speaking expert Brian J. Boeheim, this tactic “helps control the rate of your speech.”
  • Listen to sports commentators, and notice how they avoid fillers. Special nod to Al Michaels, Dan Shulman, Doris Burke and just about every British soccer broadcaster.

Of all the communication bones to pick, verbal fillers might seem trivial. However, your manner of speaking has an outsize impact on the way you’re perceived.

As The New York Times writes: “The use of the verbal pause ‘like’ conveys social solidarity among members of this age cohort [20-somethings], but is perceived as less intelligent by older listeners.”

So, that is actually, like, totally accurate, right? Review the rest of the infographic for more ways to avoid worthless words that muddle your speech.

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