Is there evidence that saying 'umm' and 'ahh' reduces your ability to communicate effectively? Why are they bad? In conversation phonemes tell the listener than you haven't finished speaking but you're thinking about the next thing to say. Without them people would constantly interrupt one another, which would be horrible.
I agree that it would probably get tiresome very quickly in regular conversation. It reminds me of a comedian who asked "Do you think Jesse Jackson talks like that at the dinner table?", referring to the "Baptist preacher voice" seemingly being Jackson's default voice when he's interviewed on TV/radio.
It's easy to see the difference with examples. A good example of clear speech is Sam Harris. Even when debating contentious topics, he speaks in calm paragraphs. I could imagine Harris behaving the same in a one-on-one conversation. Contrast that to his opponent, William Lane Craig. If Craig spoke that way in my living room, he would appear insane.
Avoiding filler is necessary for oration, but it's not remotely sufficient. I think this app will improve people's ability to communicate, not bloviate.
Though I listened to a 3 1/2 hour train-wreck of a conversation he posted on his podcast with someone who'd reviewed a recent book of his unfairly (in his opinion). He made a very strong effort to keep the conversation on track, and communicated as clearly as ever, but it didn't take long for the frustration to become clear to anyone who listens. My impression is, that as good a communicator as Sam Harris is, there's almost no way to salvage a conversation with a terrible communicator.
My advice would be just stop and think when you need to. It's completely fine and you will convey the impression that you are a serious and thoughtful individual, which is good. You can show that you were listening and are about to respond entirely through your body language.
If you feel uncomfortable with that, there are a bunch of simple tricks you can use here and saying "umm..." is not a good one. One easy thing is to always ensure you have a glass/bottle of water. If someone asks a tough question and you need time to think, wait until they have finished their question, then take a drink of water. No-one thinks this is even slightly strange and it gives you time to think and make a considered answer.
Q: "Where should we host our service?"
A[instant]: "Well, you have X, Y, and Z."
A[afterwards]: "X has these features, but Y might be a better fit for you because..."
It probably wasn't, but that phrase is friendly and buys time to prepare the actual answer.
I'm a bit confused. So if I understand you correctly, Sam is the one with clear, calm speech, but Craig is the praised "orator", yet he would appear "insane" in your living room. So which one do you think is the better speaker?
Oh you are way too hopeful. I've experienced so many times situations where I think "surely everyone is seeing through the speaker's BS" only to be severely disappointed.
> these results suggest an attentional orienting account in which fillers direct attention to the speech stream but do not always result in specific predictions about upcoming material.
Article with commentary: http://nautil.us/blog/your-speech-is-packed-with-misundersto...
> They found that hearers remembered plot points better after listening to the disfluent versions, with enhanced memory apparent even for plot points that weren’t preceded by a disfluency. Stripping a speech of ums and uhs, as Toastmasters are intent on doing, appears to be doing listeners no favors.
On the other hand, if you want to give a powerful, short speech you may care less about people remembering specific content details and more about people remembering that you gave a good speech. In that case you may want to spend some time removing the disfluencies in your speech.
I've found that when made conscious of it, I'm usually able to slow down my speech just a little bit and that alone gives my brain the time it needs to form thoughts properly and communicate clearly. At worst it's a good exercise in thinking a bit before speaking, especially for us ADHD-types who tend to blurt out the wrong thing at the wrong time quit often.
Our brains seem pretty good at filtering that sort of stuff out, but anecdotally having too many filler words does seem to hurt both comprehension and impressions.
So I think it's more of a pacing thing then a latency thing. Slow down your speech a bit and you'll be in a more comfortable range.
(Side note as a serial interrupter: it's usually nice to let people finish talking)
I think excessive fillers betrays a lack of confidence in what the person is saying, so reducing will help you be a more persuasive speaker.
If it's with cubemates/rowmates it's okay. If you're a speaker (not just talking) but speaking, then it's noticeable and it becomes distracting. Mostly when you're paying attention and following their train of thought... When you're following someone's train of thought you're filling in in advance, the uhhm, kind of puts a kink in that thought process because it becomes very apparent when a meaningless interruption happens repeatedly.
Now, not being religious it may sound funny for me to say this, but I really appreciate listening to southern Baptist (?) preacher interviews because despite the subject, they are captivating. They pronounce all the syllables, don't cut their words short, don't mix /d/ and /t/ and sound all around pleasant. They are good speakers. Yes, some overdo it and overpronounce and drag out words, I don't mean those.
Hmm I can't find any good research though at least anecdotally it makes it a lot hard for me to pay attention. Take Paul Graham for instance. Smart guy, great speaker but his frequent "umms" ended up taking me out of his talk and then I couldn't concentrate on anything but his "umms". I love reading his essays but I find it hard to concentrate on his speaking.
Granted I don't know if that says something negative about my ability to concentrate, about Paul's speaking ability, or both and it's anecdotal so no idea if my experience is common.
I'm a stammerer and I'm part of a speech therapy programme. One of the many techniques they teach us is to speak slower and remove filler words as they are often used by stammers to fill the silence when they can't get a word out.
When listening to a talk or lecture I do really notice if the speaker is using fill words and it kind of distracts me from the subject they are talking about.
I do this sometimes when in a conversational tone say on Slack or IRC to show I'm actually thinking/confused by the direction the conversation has taken. I think this is better than the person I'm interacting with thinking I've just bailed.
This is not the same as, uhhh, me, uhhh, like, uhhhh, putting filler words into, uhhh, my writing.
It is used to enhance the communication by making it more representative of a good conversation, as opposed to using filler words.
If you have a deep and commanding voice, people shut up as soon as you open your mouth, and they don't dare cut you off before you're done. It's primordial.
I noticed this especially a few weeks ago when I was watching presidential debate coverage. Of the six or seven people on screen, two were male. Everyone was talking over each other, except one of the guys who was mostly silent. It was really interesting to watch how he could begin to speak and everyone would be immediately quiet.
"Um", "uh", "well"... It's not that they inherently make you sound weak, it's just that people who take control of rooms don't develop them.
Because, you know, they're overused like to the point that many Americans, ummmm, don't use them to like "tell the listener that you haven't finished speaking" anymore, you know, but instead they're like thrown randomly into, ahhh, sentences, even when the sentence is expressed fluidly, you know?
Using these phrases all the time has somehow become cool, even though it makes people look like fucking idiots.
I think they are stigmatized because often they are used heavily by those who have no idea what they are taking about. But the fix is to know what you are talking about rather than to eliminate 'umm' from your vernacular. These pauses give your audience time to think, give your audience cues on what parts are important, and let you pull together your own thoughts.
In his defense, everything he says is hyper-analyzed so he does have to be more careful than most of us.
Anecdotally people seem more focused on what I'm saying when I do that vs the filler sounds I'm trying to stop saying.
The listener's big gun.
What I want is people in IT to stop using "super". Super effective, super this, super that. Super hard to stop, but it would be super if they did.
Now I want to read this book about fillers that I just stumbled upon:
Is there a training program or book that can help somebody get away from this kind of speech? A Baptist preacher can read the phone book and make it sound captivating, but the people I'm talking about could read the speech from Independence Day and make it sound dull, so that has to be an acquired skill that can be applied regardless of the subject.