Um, like and being heard – The 200 words project

2 years ago, I tried cutting out “um”/”you know”/other such filler words from my language. That initiative went nowhere. Recently, however, I’ve been able to make more progress thanks to a post on Seth Godin’s excellent blog.

As Seth explains – “For a million years, people have been judging each other based on voice. Not just on what we say, but on how we say it. I heard a Pulitzer-prize winning author interviewed on a local radio show. The tension of the interview caused an “um” eruption—your words and your approach sell your ideas, and at least on this interview, nothing much got sold.
Or consider the recent college grad who uses thirty or forty “likes” a minute. Hard to see through to the real you when it’s so hard to hear you.”

Acknowledging that you can’t remove this verbal tic by willing it away (as I had tried before), Seth suggests that we don’t try to rid ourselves of the “um” or “like.” Instead, aim to simply replace it with a pause. We don’t need to keep making sounds to keep our place as the speaker. So, we should talk as slowly as needed to until speeding up feels comfortable.

The best part: Our default assumption is that people who choose their words carefully are quite smart. Like you. – Seth Godin


Thanks to – image source

6 thoughts on “Um, like and being heard – The 200 words project

  1. Rohan, I remembered Seth’s post as well. As someone who does a lot of um, it’s hard to replace it with words since those ums are actually time for me to think my words over. Silence is possible though.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Cheers,
    Anh

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