Watch out, for, um, like, all of those dis-fluencies! 

Pardon the Interruption

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Have you ever, um, well, you know, like, been in a meeting and, um, not, not really been clear about what you were, um, like, trying to say? Now, read this same sentence out loud.

We’ve all done it. We all use pauses and filler words when we speak. At mallowstreet, we call these ‘dis-fluencies’. Last week I reviewed a SOFI analysis report from a client presentation. I said ‘like’ 15 times in 7 minutes. Was I embarrassed? Yes. Off the back of this, I decided to run the same presentation as a practice and reduced 15 occurrences to 3.

When we speak, we don’t get a chance to correct ourselves. Once it is said, it is out there. The written word allows us to reflect, refine, edit, peer review, change our minds, polish, and ensure the exact nuanced point we want to make is as clear as it can be. Speaking doesn’t allow for a second chance. Sure, you can say it again, but it’s not quite the same – the moment is gone.

I challenge you to try it. Talk about anything for two minutes and then upload it to SOFI. It will show you exactly how many dis-fluencies you have. I know I was shocked when I saw the result. However, I was equally shocked to see how quickly I was able to correct this once I was aware of it.

It goes back to a basic principle – what gets measured gets managed. We can all improve and adapt what we say; we just need to know exactly what it is that needs to be changed.

The fewer dis-fluencies we have, the clearer and more articulate we can be – and land our messages with greater impact and precision. Trust me, it will make a difference for you.

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