The “Ummm” Word

How do you tackle the “uhmmmmm” word when presenting? Here are the answers. Assembled on the Make a Powerful Point blog by a team of distinguished Presentation Pro’s, and me!

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The-Ummm-Word_Make a POWERful POINT

Everyone gets the Umms. Rampant umming and ahhing can agitate audiences and strike fear into the hearts of presenters. To help figure out what to do with the umms, (without resorting to drugs) we have a virtual panel of experts – public speaking coaches, toastmasters and professional presenters. All were asked a simple question,

How do you get rid of the ummm word?

Peter Watts

You never know you have spinach on your teeth until someone points it out to you. Awareness of “uhmmmmmm” arrives the same way. Next time you are presenting, use your phone to record your presentation and listen to the playback. You’ll recognize the verbal ticks; they’re all those repeated uhmmm’s that leave you yelling: “Why did no-one tell me??????!”

Now try not to think of an elephant! What are you now thinking about? I’ll bet you it’s an elephant. Mentally telling yourself mid-presentation “Don’t go uhmmmmmm” will have the…

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  1. Vanessa King says:

    I try to pause, make sure I’m not speaking too fast in the first place. That seems to help reduce my ums…

    • That’s a great idea Vanessa. A lot of those uhmms are manifestations of internal “thinking moments” that are superbly replaced with a power-pause.

  2. Remove it as a Surgeon would remove a malignant tumor.

  3. Christopher M says:

    Loved this. Really good tips, for this subconscious fault!

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