I don’t say "um", "like", or "you know" during my presentations, I do this instead...

I’m an alien - I LOVE public speaking.

There’s something about the rush of delivering meaningful content and engaging with people! I absolutely love it.

I’ve given tons of public speeches on different types of stages (classrooms, churches, meetups, conferences) and I have learned so much. I’m going to share with you some of the things I do to make my talks more effective.

First, let’s talk about the use of “um”

“Drop Ums”

For me, I usually say “umm” or “uhh” when I’m searching for a word OR I’m nervous. If this is you, then it’s possible to remove it.

My number one trick here is to take a PAUSE when I feel an “um” coming on!

The audience won’t notice and it’s less distracting!

It may feel like you are creating a massive silence in the room and the audience will most certainly fall into boredom. Not true. A well timed pause can add depth and even emphasis on when you are speaking! Also, as you stop saying “um” eventually you’ll eliminate it completely.

Here’s exactly how I practice my presentations:

  1. I write out exactly what I’m going to say word for word
  2. Then I try to recite it (looking for ums - am I nervous, unprepared or unsure?)

I repeat these steps and write less and less until my paper has a high-level outline only

“Like and You Know are tough”

I’m not saying don’t use these words in your talks - don’t use them out of context:

“It’s like, like, um, you know…when you declare a variable”

  1. No I don’t know, I’m learning from you
  2. Is it like that or is it that?

The mighty mighty pause can help you here, too! Take a breath and collect your thoughts. Even if you have practiced and prepared, speaking live can be unpredictable. You might get distracted or heckled or worse…go blank!

You can even sip your water (always take the water!)

If you actually want to get buy in or agreement from the audience, you can use “you know” effectively!

I would say, “Have you ever had an app that doesn’t work?”

That’s the same as “It was one of those apps that didn’t work, you know?”

One actively prompts the audience!

I hope these insights help to elevate your talks! I have more to come so definitely follow me on Twitter.

P.S. Check out my speaking page to see if I’m actually any good on stage 🙃

Let’s go 🔥🔥🔥