Drop the Umms and Ahhs


Eliminate Junk Words and Phrases


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 are used: 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 . . .” 


Excessive “ummms” can really distract your audience. On a phone call, or web conference, a speaker might utter an “ummm” while 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 too much will lead your audience to tune you out. 


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


Here’s how you can eliminate the offending junk words  from your vocabulary: 

– Whenever you have the urge to say “ummm” or “ahhh”, substitute a silent pause. 


This might take some practice—a good way to practice is to present in front of a small group of peers or friends. Whenever your audience hears you utter an “ummm” or an “ahhh”, have them clap their hands or pound on a table or desk. After a short period of time you will lose the urge to “ummm”. 


You might feel like you’re being conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs, but your communication will be much clearer and far more professional.  


I’m DJ Sebastian. To learn more about what it takes to Become a Great Communicator, visit my website at thetechseller.com.