This will be challenging if you have a tendency toward verbal tics or idiosyncrasies or filler language (also known as “verbal hedges”). Common verbal hedges include “um,” “uh,” “like,” nervous laughter, etc. If you use any of these when you speak, you are not alone! In fact, it is incredibly common to speak this way.
Whether you are speaking with people one on one, on camera, or in front of a live audience, if you are aware that you tend to defer to certain verbal hedges when you are speaking, this is the first step toward working them out of your dialogue as soon as possible.
Here is a proven method for doing so:
1. Identify what your verbal hedges are. Write them down. Keep the list handy.
2. Anytime you catch yourself using a verbal hedge, repeat the sentence or phrase without it (This works best when rehearsing a speech or filming for your website or blog. If you are speaking with someone one-on-one, you probably don’t want to repeat the sentence. Still, it is important to be cognizant every time you use a verbal hedge you are trying to rid yourself of).
3. Practice delivering short speeches or presentations in front of the mirror free of any of this unnecessary language. When you are able to deliver a three minute speech in front of the mirror without even so much as the sensation to invoke a verbal hedge, you have likely rid yourself of the habit (and if not, keep practicing)!
* * *