As a speaker coach, one of the most common questions I hear is, “How do I get rid of ‘uhm’s’?” And I usually advise,”They are simply filling pauses. Imagine they are swear words you would be embarrassed to mutter.” That may stop you. Then we play a game where each audience member raises a hand every time the offending speaker says “Uhm.” It is so annoying to the speaker that it often works!
However the BEST TIP on GETTING RID OF UHM’S is from one of my speaking students at Columbia College Chicago – Eric P., a film and video major, who says he practices NOT UHM-ING when he orders in the Subway sandwich line. Try it! Just try ordering your sandwich and all the ingredients without one non-word. Or, for that matter, try it in any fast food line when you’re ordering a long list of items.
If you try “Eric’s Uhm’s Challenge”, let me know how it goes! Creatively yours, Cyndi