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Author Forgotten User  Date 23 Mar 06, 18:08  Views 1594
Description Have Fun!
Category Newsletter Articles  Type Information

Have Fun!

Have Fun!

Take a deep breath … and …

… um … err … um … well, you see …

How many times have you listened to someone speaking and noticed how often they use sounds like 'um' and 'err'? We've all been guilty of it at some time, using these sounds to fill in space when we talk. But why? What use do these sounds have? The answer is absolutely none! They fill in the silences when we're not sure what to say next, or when we're moving from one point to the next - but why do we need to fill in the silence? The answer to that one is that we don't. The power of silence is huge and we should all try to use it to its full potential to improve the way we speak.

With a bit of practice, you can actually train yourself to stop using these sounds. Here's how:

1. Start listening out in conversation for the use of 'ums and 'errs'. Notice how and where other people use them.
2. Once you're tuned into these sounds, turn your attention to your own speaking. Listen to yourself talking and try to become aware of how often you use 'ums and 'errs'.
3. If you're not sure how often you use these sounds, ask someone else to listen to what you say and count for you.
4. Next, think of the rudest word you can - the one that you would never dream of saying out loud.
5. Now imagine that fillers like 'um' and 'err' are even ruder! What will your friends, family or colleagues think of you if you dare to utter such a dreadful word in public?
6. Holding this thought, when you feel yourself about to say 'um' or 'err', remember just what a rude revolting word it is - and don't use it!
7. Instead of using a rude word to fill in time (and distract people from listening to what you're saying) … just stop … and don't say anything. Take a deep breath and pause. Give yourself time to think about what you're going to say next and to give your audience time to take in what you've just said.
8. Finally, keep practising! The more aware of 'ums and 'errs' you become, the easier it will be for you to eliminate them from your speaking.

The power of the pause is huge. You can pause at the end of a sentence, or even ….. in the middle ….. to emphasize a point!

One of the best ways to practice improving your speaking technique is at a Toastmasters meeting. At each one, a member takes the role of Grammarian, whose job it is to listen to everyone else and count the number of times 'ums' and 'errs' are used by each person. If you're not good at counting your own use of fillers, the Grammarian will do it for you! As you get more used to speaking in front of an audience, some of whom are tuned into listening for the use of fillers, you'll soon find it easier to reduce the number of times you um say certain words and get better at ….. pausing.

    
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