November 8, 2006

Barack Obama says "uh". . .

. . . and life goes on. The earth keeps spinning. The sun keeps shining.

Did anyone see his interview on CNN last night during election coverage? Did anyone count the number of times he said "uh?" Me neither.

My point is that many inexperienced speakers put a disproportionate amount of energy, not to mention anxiety, into "the fear of um." When a speaker is confident, engaging, and passionate, with a clear and concise message, an occasional "um" here or an "uh" there is not going to distract the audience. It's not going to take away from your story. Believe me.

I'm not saying that a speaker should just throw around filler words all crazy-like. But I am saying that there are much more critical issues in delivering an effective presentation, and I'd hate to see a speaker expend so much energy on eradicating fillers that the spontaneous, authentic, interesting person is buried under a rigid set of rules.

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1 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I'm with you there. I went through he Toastmasters program where they really emphasize not saying the um. But the focus can be so much on rules that one begins to sacrifice authenticity and spontaneity. Once that happens the audience can begin to tune the speaker out. Yes, break the rules, be who you are and have a ball!

As you suggest, I’d much rather listen to a stumbling and passionate speaker tha a rule follower with no fire.

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