Drop the Ummms and Ahhhs 1


Junk words and phrases are those that you should work hard to eliminate from your vocabulary and from all customer communications. They provide no context or meaning. Without them, your verbal communication will just sound clearer and more professional. 


One of the biggest offending junk words are those dreaded “word-filler” twins “Ummm . . .” and “Ahhh . . .” 


Here’s how they infiltrate our vocabulary: You can’t think of what to say next, so you just utter an audible sound to continue a voice communications stream: “Ummm, at the end of the day, ummm, we believe that the best approach is, ahhh . . .” 


The compelling message you prepared so diligently can lose its power when your words include waves of “ummms” and “ahhhs”. It makes you sound unsure of yourself, lacking confidence, and that you don’t really believe what you are saying. 


Excessive “ummms” can really distract your audience. On a phone call, or web conference, a speaker might utter an “ummm” once in a while when they are thinking of what to say next, or after a pause, just to signal to the other parties “I’m still here.” That can be OK for occasional use, but overdoing it will lead your audience to tune you out. 


You will notice this a lot on TV, radio, some podcasts, and with nervous or inexperienced speakers… and it becomes very annoying after a short period of time. 


I’m DJ Sebastian. In the next briefing, we’ll discuss how you can eliminate the offending junk words “ummm” and “ahhh” from your vocabulary.