How Not To Say 'Um'

Its obvious from listening to my first screen recording that there are three things I need to improve when it comes to doing a recorded demonstration of software.

#1 – Stop saying ‘Um’.

I lost count at 10.

Obviously I don’t mean to say this word at all, its unconscious padding added to provide time to formulate a thought and to signal to a listener that ‘we are still talking, please don’t interrupt’.

I say ‘um’ because it signals my intention to keep talking having stopped to think about what I want to say next.

‘Um’ is the conch.

Sounds like I need to pretend that I am talking to a machine that can’t butt-in .. oh – hang on…. 🙂

I went looking for words of wisdom on the net on how to stop saying um.

It all seems to boil down to practice, and being so prepared they you don’t need to think.

I also found someone In defense of ‘um’

Jean Fox Tree: I believe these attitudes towards the hallmarks of spontaneous speech are unjustly negative. Instead, I think that spontaneous speech is the way it is because it helps us communicate better, not worse. Given that we don’t have our ideas planned out carefully in advance, and given that even if we did we’d have to make sudden adjustments based on what the other person we’re talking to says, words like um and uh, I mean, well, and even long pauses or repetitions might help us organize our ideas, correct errors, and provide signals to our listeners about how they can best follow our trains of thought.


#2 – Don’t yell “Bam!”

It scares Micheal Air.


#3 – Prepare More

Borrow from pod-casting lore and produce simple show-notes. At least a list of what I want to demonstrate.

If I don’t need to think about what I am going to say next – less chance of saying ‘um’ to signify that I am thinking.



About James McParlane

CTO Massive Interactive. Ex Computer Whiz Kid - Now Grumpy Old Guru.
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