For most of the people I help awareness is the key top reducing ums and ahs. Generally they are unaware that the ums and ahs are slipping out of their mouth when they deliver a presentation. And, over the course of a session when they are told how many have escaped they are quite shocked. In most cases now that a client has been armed wit the raw facts they make the effort to eliminate their ums and ahs themselves, and within a few weeks they have significantly reduced the number of ums and ahs, or completely eliminated them. How do they achieve this in such a short space of time?
A simple two step process…
1) Become aware. As I mentioned above the first step is to become aware of how big or small the problem is. Find a trusted colleague or friend who can simply tally the number of ums, ah’s, or you knows that escape from your mouth over during a presentation.
2) Fill the air with silence instead. Umhs and ah’s are used to fill in the “thinking” time we have a presenters. The trick is to become comfortable with moments of silence – what seems like an eternity to a speaker is only a short pause to an audience. Next time you need to “gather your thoughts” while presenting stay silent. It will be uncomfortable at first, but in a short space of time you will become used to pausing and associated silence. And, rather than looking silly you will deliver a presentation with an air of authority and professionalism.
Let me know how you go with this process.