How To Stop Using Filler Words

Episode 7

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We need to talk about Filler Words

Ever get stuck, mid sentence, looking for the words or ideas that you need?

Um, ah, yeah, it’s kind of like, the thing is, what I’m trying to say is…


How to Reduce Your Fillers

In these moments I start to wonder if we really did all begin as amoebae in the microbial soup millions of years ago.
It feels like you’ve become a single cell organism killing for some synapses to fire, doesn’t it?
Split seconds before you express your thoughts, your brain processes and plans your message.
We are always at risk of losing specific words or logical flow.
Some factors tip the balance: lack of sleep, stress, performance anxiety…
And when this happens, that’s when the filler words get their groove on.
While the fillers party, our ego takes the back seat.
You feel uncomfortable when the words don’t roll.
Cheated by the filler.
How on earth did “like, you know what I mean” hijack my hyperspecific amazing adjective? Dammit.
And then to make matters worse, there’s the research.
If you think people take you less seriously when you use filler words… you’re right.
They do.
Did you ever hear of “The Feeling of Another’s Knowing” or FOAK as the groovy researchers like to coin it?
When we listen to someone we form a “feeling of another’s knowing.”
The feeling we have about our conversation partner shapes how many benefits we give them.
For example, if they ace it, FOAK is exactly what hands out the job promotions, leadership traction, trust and loyalty metrics.
So if you want your listener, to really feel that you know what you are talking about, you should probably do something about those filler words you use.
Today’s Little Shot will get you started.

The Little Shot is here to build your communication in lots of little shots until you become a Big Shot communicator (in the nicest possible way), so I hope you find this episode affirming.


Scroll to watch the 4-min tutorial

How To stop Using Filler Words

Episode 7

This little shot is scheduled for 10am on Tuesday the 26th of May. If you arrive here earlier, don’t forget to turn on notifications via the YouTube premiere button so you can be first to know once the mini tutorial pushes live.


Arnold, J., Kam, C. & Tanenhaus, M. (2007). If you say thee uh you are describing something hard: The online attribution of Dysfluency during reference comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33)5), 915 accessed from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6117415_If_You_Say_Thee_uh_You_Are_Describing_Something_Hard_The_On-Line_Attribution_of_Disfluency_During_Reference_Comprehension


Clark, H. & Tree, J. (2002). Using uh and um in spontaneous speaking. Cognition, 84(1), 73-111. Accessed from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010027702000173


Dinkar, T., Vasilescu, I., Pelechaud, C. & Clavel, C. (2020) How confident are you? Exploring the role of fillers in the automatic prediction of a speaker’s confidence. doi:10.1109/ICASSP40776.2020.9054374

Tayrani, M., Esposito, A. & Vinciarelli, A. (2019). What an “Ehm” Leaks About You: Mapping Fillers into Personality Traits with Quantum Evolutionary Feature Selection Algorithms. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. PP. 1-1. doi: 10.1109/TAFFC.2019.2930695.

Have you got an colleague, netball coach or salsa partner who needs to stop saying “um?”

Why not give it a share and if you enjoyed this video don’t forget to give it a thumbs up.

Remember, your words matter, sometimes more than anything else.

Ciao for now!


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