How often have you had a public official get up at a meeting to discuss something and every other word is filled with Ah or Um? Well, if you have ever joined Toastmasters you will be surprised how this little habit will jump out at you once you become aware of it in your own speech.
These Ah’s and Um’s are known as audible pauses. What each of us need to do is to pause and keep our mouth shut for a moment of silence. This will stop that Ah and Um from coming out and give you that brief time to compose your thoughts.
I have attended many community gatherings where young staffers, who are representing an elected official are asked to speak on behalf of the elected official. Most of these staffers, start with Um or Ah.
Now they may have had a good message, but it was lost in their inability to communicate without the Um’s and Ah’s before each sentence.
When each sentence begins with Um and Ah, it also makes the speaker look less ready, not confident and as if he walked in at the last-minute and didn’t care what he said.
Now, this might not have been the case, but, next time, if you must speak and don’t have time to prepare, write it down, rehearse it a few times and then take it to the front podium with you. Then glance at it if you must.
The best type of speeches come from the heart and then the Ah’s and Um’s go away because you know the message and no rehearsal is usually needed.
Do look up Toastmasters.org and look up Find a Club and enter your zip code where you would like to attend. They have clubs for every day of the week and time of the day.
This is a self-help program with manuals and people to help guide you. For over 85 years they have helped millions around the world improve their public speaking and their presentation skills.