Have you ever played golf? or tennis? or baseball? Any body who has played a sport that involves a swing, has heard of the importance of the follow through. Basically you can’t swing part way. You have to keep going.
A similar idea can help you improve your public speaking ability. Most people make too much use of so called “filler words" when they speak. These words can include “um, " “like, " “so" and many others. Really it includes any word that does not have a specific job to do in your speech.
Why do we use such words? Its quite simple really. Such words creep into our speech when we are trying to think of what it is we were going to say.
This is where the concept of the follow through comes in handy! I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Nobody knows what word you meant to use. Its not the specific word you had in mind that is important. What matters is getting your message across! Practice trying to spot when you are struggling to remember a word. The pause you create at this instant, is where filler words creep in. Filler words cut into the creditability of your presentation.
So once you can spot yourself searching for a word, in the middle of your speech try this. Use any word that can get the job done. Keep your speech going at its natural pace. In other words follow through. Since nobody knows the word you meant to use, make your message the important thing, and keep going. Most words have synonyms, use them! Granted the word you had in mind may be perfect for what you are trying to say. However filler words tend to be distracting. They make you look unprepared, and unprofessional. Don’t fall too much in love with your own words. Like I said before, the message is what matters. The increased fluidity, and creditability in your speech will more than make up for the substitution of words.
So remember, don’t get hung up on your own words. If you start to struggle use any word that will get the job done. Think of the follow through, and keep your speech moving.
Robert A. Crutchfield is president of Kingdom Relationship Ministries. He is a minister, public speaker, and success/ relationships coach. He holds the Competent leader Award from Toastmasters International, and is a Brainbench Certified Trainer. Visit him at http://www.kingdomrelationships.org