About this course
You know that we learn from others. And you'll know that we also start to learn from a very young age indeed, well before formal schooling. That learning is considerable, taking in mechanical skills, movement and dexterity for example. But that learning also includes the process of communication. Yes, we really do learn how to communicate at an early age by watching and listening to others around us. Parents, siblings and other relatives. Of course, for most of us that communication is conversation. Youngsters watch and listen to conversations...even if they can't exactly follow all the meaning or significance of all of the spoken words.Table of Contents Conversation Versus Public Speaking Ums And Ers Are Potent Speaker Signals The Public Speaking Matrix Why Ums And Ers Don't Work In Public Speaking Exercise: Only A Minute Why Do We Um And Er? Test Yourself More Reading
Conversation is the bedrock of most of our communication. So that explains why we use it throughout the day. When we travel to work, at work or whilst shopping, perhaps. It's not necessarily the most important part of the day. But it keeps things moving and makes everything so much more pleasant. And it also has its own rules. Rules such as the "rule" about ums and ers .
But conversation is different to public speaking. And whilst they share some common characteristics, there are some key distinctions. So, in this lesson we get to grips with ums and ers .
Ums and ers pepper our conversation. And they do so for very good reason. Because we use them as fillers when we consider what to say next. Yes, there really are times when our natural flow is impeded as we search for someone's name in our mind.
And in the silence, as we quickly trawl through our mind, we make the um or the er sound. And when we hear an um or an er ? Well, we don't interrupt. Because we know that our co-conversationalist is in full flow. Mid-sentence if you like.
So we use ums and ers to signal that we are in full-flow. And when we hear an um or an er then we know that we shouldn't interrupt. And if we do? Well, it's rare. But mostly people simply fill in the missing word, fact, figure, date, person's name and then hand the conversation back quickly. Yes, we've probably all done that at some stage.
However, that's not how it works when you give a speech. Because a speaker who uses ums and ers sends out a different signal. They aren't seen as someone who's temporarily forgotten a word, fact or figure. No,their audience takes a very different view. Because there's a suggestion that they are unprepared, unpracticed or simply don't know their stuff. And these are dangerous thoughts for any audience to have! Since, as a speaker you have to exude calm authority and knowledge.
"To speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks." Ben Jonson
And as you um and er , then your authority seems to wane, as your audience begins to doubt the extent of your knowledge.
Your task, as a speaker, is to eliminate the ums and ers from your speech. But that's going to be hard, since you have to stop the habit of a lifetime. However, it has to be done! And, with some practice you'll get there.
We want you to speak for only a minute. Yes, speak for only a minute, with no ums or ers . No umming or ering .
You can pause, hesitate and deviate from your subject. But, no ums or ers .
Write some ideas down on paper, perhaps on a cue card. Use brief notes and large letters!
If possible you can always record yourself with your iPhone ( How To Use Voice Memos ).
Aim to time yourself…and stop talking after a minute, even if you haven't finished.
Pick a subject. Take 5 minutes to prepare and then speak for only a minute. But no ums or ers .
View Your Subjects
Great. How did you do? Did you manage to count your ums and ers , or listen to them on a recording? It's quite amazing how our consciousness gets us to focus on this odd punctuation. But, we can always avoid it.
We find that most of us tend to um and er as we speak in public. That's because of:
They all come into play when you are asked to speak, with little notice. On a subject which you probably know little about, against the clock and…you know you shouldn't um and er .
Our aim as speakers is to bury the conversational ums and ers . And how do you do that?
You swap them with a pause . So, as you feel your train of thought disappearing, stop speaking, pause and miraculously you think of the next point to say.
In our next lesson we are going to learn how to pause when we speak in public.
5 top public speaking tips to help you manage your anxiety.
How you can begin your speech and 5 good reasons why it matters to you and your audience.
We've all heard speeches filled with ums and ers. No matter whether it's a speech at a conference, a seminar or a workshop, those ums and ers are everywhere. But the thing is, you don't need to use them.
In this lesson we look at the very simple reason why we use the um and the er to punctuate our speech. And then, of course, we look at how you can eliminate them. Because you'll always sound better when you do just that.
The pause is an essential part of public speaking. But it's often overlooked. So, in this lesson we aim to put that right. First we look at the non-existent role played by the pause in conversation. And then we consider how this is a problem for us, as we aim to be effective public speakers.
When you speak with tone and emphasis you add layers of quality to your conversation. And, not surprisingly, you achieve the same with a speech. So, in this lesson we look to use stress and tone in our spoken word as a matter of course. And, importantly we don't adopt a boring monotone speaking voice just because it's a management seminar speech.
Surprisingly the same rule that applies for conversation also applies for your public speaking. So, aim to keep all the simple words and simple sentences. Avoid abbreviations or acronyms and remember to steer well clear of jargon.
We don't tend to repeat words or phrases when we're having a conversation. And if we did then we can guarantee that our co-conversationalist will tell us. However, this conversation rule doesn't apply with public speaking. Yes, in a speech you really can, and should repeat the most important bits.
In this lesson we look at how the 5 building blocks work together and, importantly, why they help you to actually communicate with your audience. And, once again, there's a very simple explanation.
Your audience has got a problem. In fact they've got lots of problems and lots of distractions. However, it's your job as a public speaker to cut through these problems and really engage with your audience. Fortunately all these building blocks for successful public speaking are going to help.
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