Tuesday, 30 August 2016 02:52

Can Toastmasters help me remove filler utterances from my speeches and conversation?

Written by

Fillers like: um, uh, y’know, like, so, etc. If not, what’s some advice for accomplishing this?

As originally answered on Quora.com

Toastmasters International Sample MeetingThe short answer is ‘yes’, it can help do that. However, it doesn’t follow that just by joining Toastmasters you will become proficient at not using fillers. Like any other skill, you have to practice, you have to receive constructive feedback and you have to act upon the feedback.

In my club, Kelowna Flying Solo ToastmastersKelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters, I assign all new members the role of Ah Counter as their first official meeting role. I believe that to extinguish fillers in your oral presentation, you first have to be aware of them. After a new member has taken on the role a few times, they start to become aware of them in their own speaking.

To facilitate the ah counting we provide the Ah Counter of the evening a form to keep track of what they hear and make it easy to deliver a report. The following info is mentioned on the form:

<<Helping members off their crutches. The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be ah, um or er. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I” or “This means, this means.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills. It is unnecessary to report someone with no ums, ers, etc.>>

After taking on the role a few times, it becomes difficult to listen to newscasters on radio or TV, without going 1, 2, 3, in counting their uhms, ahs, etc.

Whenever you speak and you are not serving as the Ah Counter you will likely receive feedback from the person who is serving in the role. You may also receive feedback from your speech evaluator if it has impact on your presentation.

While being given a number of ahs etc., that you uttered in a meeting can be helpful, actually knowing when and where you uttered them is even more beneficial. There is value in recording your vocal presentations and listening to it after the meeting. New speakers seem to have problems with dead air time and feel the need to fill it with some kind of a vocal noise.

Many of us use a filler phrase that we are comfortable with, rather than an ah or uhm, odds are we are not even aware of it. Here are some commonly used words or phrases: ‘like’, ‘you know what I mean?’, ‘so’, ‘and’, seriously speaking’, ‘but’. I’m sure that everybody can think of some that they hear regularly.

If you have a prepared speech to deliver during the meeting, it can be helpful to tell your speech evaluator in advance that you would like to reduce your filler words. They in turn can provide you with feedback as to when you used them or not and if it added or took away from your presentation.

Thanks for the question.

Last modified on Saturday, 15 October 2016 11:55
Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

 

Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

Rae’s social … are you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaeStonehousehttp://twitter.com/RaeStonehouse

Linkedin? Rae is http://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehousehttp://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehouse

Copyright 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.comhttp://raestonehouse.com.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.