What are filler words and filler sounds?
"Um, filler words and filler sounds are the words that um....", so I know you lost your interest as soon as the word "um" came up. This is what filler words usually do to your speech.
Filler words or filler sounds are the short and meaningless words/sounds that we used to fill short pauses while we are thinking.
There might have been many incidents when you would have found yourself relying on these filler words and sounds. However, you do not plan it; this happens unconsciously.
You are more likely to find yourself using these words in situations of hesitation or nervousness. These words and sounds do not appear that frequently in writing, as they do while speaking.
You wouldn't have read 'um' and 'uh' in a newspaper or a published book. Whereas there are chances that you might have heard even the biggest orators use these words as crutches.
This happens because writing gives you the time to think, reflect and improvise, while the impromptu nature of speaking doesn't. Filler words, as mentioned before, are pause indicators.
This is another reason that they don't find a purpose in writing. In writing, we have a set of punctuations to serve the purpose.
How Can Filler Words And Filler Sounds Help Your Speech?
Filler Words and Filler Sounds might be meaningless, but they are not useless. You can intelligently use them for your benefit. Three purposes that filler words and filler sounds can serve are
- Collect Your ThoughtsThe most important purpose filler words are supposed to serve is to allow you to think. Collect your thoughts and plan your comments ahead while the filler sounds entice your audience.
- Calm DownNervousness is most likely to creep in your mind while you are speaking. Use the time given by filler words as a chance to calm yourself down.
- Emphasize On A Point - Filler words can work beyond being a defensive tool. Use them effectively before you make a point to grab the attention of the audience. These words can also help you build suspense at times.
How Can Filler Words Harm Your Speech?
Nobody would like to hear a speech with "um", "uh", "so", "basically", and "literally" scattered all over. Filler words are bound to harm your speech if you do not use them wisely. Few ways in which it harms your speech include -
- Reducing audience engagement - Biggest challenge that you will face as a speaker is engaging your audience throughout your speech. Make sure the use of filler words doesn't lead to redundancy and disinterest on the part of the audience.
- Exhibits Nervousness - Frequent use of these filler words and sounds is an expression of nervousness and hesitation. Your audience wants to get inspired by you, and this will not happen unless they see you as a confident individual.
- Creates ConfusionExcessive use of filler words makes the audience confused. They might be unable to figure out the core point that you are trying to make. This can result in a major blow to your speech.
Everything about public speaking narrows down to one thing - Practice. Keep practicing and working on the areas that look difficult to you. Practical experience will eventually teach you how to deal with situations. You might overuse these words in your initial speeches, but gradually, you'll be able to harness their power.