At the end of the day, how um often do we ahhhh hear a speeeeeaker like um use lots of um fillers when they ah communicate? At the end of the day, it can be quite distracting!
Fillers are an epidemic not just in formal presentations, but in video-conferences and tele-conferences as well. FYI- Filler is doubly deadly over the phone where every extraneous sound is magnified. I’ve counted over a hundred fillers in a span of 20 minutes from a single speaker. It can um drive you ahh crazy.
To be clear, the occasional filler is to be expected, especially when one is speaking extemporaneously. However, when fillers are repeated in patterns, punctuating speech with noise, that’s when we need to address it! Excessive use of fillers weakens credibility, potentially making us appear less than professional, unprepared, lacking in confidence.
I put fillers in four major categories:
- Filler sounds – e.g. ah, um, er
- Filler words – e.g. like, basically, literally, so
- Filler phrases – e.g. you know, what I’d like to do is.., at the end of the day (my latest crusade)
- Filler vocal inflection – e.g. elongating a vowel sound in a distracting pattern, aaaaannnyways…
First – diagnose the problem by seeking feedback of peers or recording yourself. You want to be looking for repeating filler patterns and not the occasional misstep.
Second – recognize that when we use fillers, we are unconsciously indicating to our listeners “I’m thinking”.
Third – replace the fillers with pauses. Pausing gives you more time to formulate your thoughts clearly and articulately. It also gives the listener time to experience the impact of your words. Speakers always have more time than they think. A speaker’s perception of time is different from an audiences and you would be amazed at the level of engagement you can create from a good pace.
Fourth – practicing out loud will help in that you will start to become familiar with articulating your content, so you’re remembering rather than creating on the spot. And when your nerves get the best of you, it can be hard to think. I find lean bullet points and practicing at least three times, helps reduce filler. When practicing out loud, I recommend familiarizing rather than memorizing, so it stays slightly spontaneous, but with direction.
So back to my crusade. If your finding that the phrase ”At the end of the day” is turning into filler, you could always consider:
- All things considered
- In conclusion
- Considering the facts
At the end of the day, these might work for you! Oops!