The Easiest Ways To Stop Saying “Um”, “Like” And Other Filler Words

This blog post was also featured at Lifehack.org.

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When I started work as a Disc Jockey at the age of twenty, my spiels were full of “ums,” “likes,” and “aahs” so my supervisor called my attention to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Today, when I attend business seminars and meetings, I always encounter professionals unconsciously using these filler words. When “um,” “ahh,” “you know,” and “like” are used once or twice, there’s no issue at all. In fact, it makes people sound like they studied their words more carefully before speaking. The problem arises when people keep repeating them; this kills their credibility and makes them sound like a teenage school girl instead of a professional.

Use speech rhythm.

You ramble, or use unstudied speech when you don’t plan and organize your talk. When you organize your thoughts and points prior to delivering a talk, you will speak better. Presentation and speech improvement trainer Ritchelle Blanco Dejolde, recommends that you chunk your sentences before speaking them, then pause for a while. Dejolde says, “Chunking your sentences will help you create a rhythm in your talk: spoken words/ then break/spoken words/ another break. Maintain that rhythm and your “aahs” and “um’s” will fly away or at least you minimize using them.”

Record yourself.

One of the first things I learned when I was training as a broadcaster was to record myself and listen intently on how I generally deliver speeches. It’s painful, excruciatingly painful to do this, but it’s absolutely necessary. To listen to your own voice and hear yourself committing mistakes while talking in front of a crowd is, to me, one of the most difficult part of my training as a broadcaster. Do this, listen well and study yourself, and the fillers you often use; you’ll cringe when you notice how frequently you express them. The moment you are conscious of those speech crutches, you will be more careful next time you address an audience. That’s the key: awareness. When you’re mindful of an error, admit that you commit it, then you’re on your way to correct it.

Replace your “ums” and “likes” with pre-planned transitional fillers.

When you say “um” you are telling your audience you are gathering your thoughts and that your train of thought is not yet finished. A better alternative is to get ready with transitional phrases. Instead of saying “um” say “moving on,” or “why don’t we talk about,” or “another important point is…” When you start applying this lesson, you’ll feel a bit of a fake, but as you practice using these transitional phrases, they will start to sound more natural. You can apply the tip (recording yourself) before this while practicing and you’ll be on your way to polish your speaking skills.

Establish an intimate rapport.

They say the eyes are the windows to a man’s soul. Applying this in public speaking, make eye contact through out your speech and you will minimize using filler words. Why? It’s awkward to say “um” when you lock in a sincere eye contact with an individual. Experiment in your next seminar or meeting; position your body and gaze directly onto your audience giving it your most engaging attention. During a conference call, don’t stare at the window or the wall blankly, or pace the room unconsciously. Instead, check your script or notes. Basically, live audience, on-line, or on the phone, your fillers will come out lesser.

In no time, with these effective strategies and with constant practice, I was able to lessen using fillers. Apply them in your talks and pretty soon, you will eradicate those credibility stealers from your speech.

Sources:

Four Ways to Stop Saying “Um” And Other Filler Words

Here’s the Trick to Removing “Um” and “Like” From Your Vocabulary

How to Write a Top Blog Post in 30 Minutes or Less

This blog post was also featured on Lifehacker.com UK.

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I know you’ll agree, it’s the characteristic of this generation: toxic schedules! Sometimes we can’t even have a decent dinner with our significant other. Maaan… sometimes we can’t even wash our hair! True? I can see you nodding there.

Yes, at times even our most important relationships will have to take the back seat just so we can write a good piece. This is especially true when you’re just about to start a blog. If you’re a newbie, here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get started.

For bloggers who are experienced, you’re even more likely to be on the roll and will have to skip lunch, more frequently (at least, this is my reality). To maintain my momentum, from the moment I start and through the whole morning session, I’ll just munch on a slider and grab a heavy snack at around 16:00 just to finish self-imposed tasks. Then I’d tell myself — the things I have to do to run an online business! And let out a big sigh!

Here’s the thing. When you run schedules like the ones above, you have to write fast; the blogging industry now demands it. Indeed, it’s undeniable; it’s an ability we have to possess to be more efficient, to be more productive.

As I ponder upon these thoughts, it hit me — I’m not the only blogger who can benefit from this skill. All of us can take home something from this piece.

How to Write a Good Blog Post in 30 Minutes

1. List points and concepts: When you have an idea, scribble it into a notebook, pronto. Don’t delay doing this. You have to capture the moment right when the idea hits you; that way, you won’t lose any of your good ideas. When you’re ready, pick one topic and write. Convenient, right? Efficient, too.

2. Open your first paragraph based on points you’ve saved: This is the best way to introduce your topic. By doing this, your audience will be properly guided on what you will tackle in the particular post they are reading. Most bloggers who are considered authorities in the blogosphere all agree on this specific principle: the way you introduce your post has a heavy bearing on the overall impact of your blog post. So do it with utmost care.

3. Write using key points: Bullet points make your writing easy to organise. I’ll let you in a little revelation. Carol Tice, one of the most respected bloggers today admitted that she prefers reading blog posts formatted with bullet points. And the reason why? She likes scanning through the post. It helps her to read in an easier manner. If seasoned bloggers like her fancy doing this, how much more ordinary readers who, like you, always have to skim through articles because they want to move on to other tasks.

4. Pre-edit before you start: You have loads of ideas. At least, that’s fast becoming the standard scene in my work area. If that’s the same in yours, be brutal. Edit out all ideas that don’t fit the main topic. Remember, we’re talking about how to craft a post in 30 minutes, not a comprehensive report.

5. Keep it short: If you want to complete an article in 30 minutes, keep it under 600 words. Don’t skimp on quality, though, and aim to be informative even with a short post. If it’s at all possible, pack everything in a small package. Need I say more?

6. Knock it out fast and return later: Here’s my strategy, and you can emulate it if it fits your style. Just bleed pen to paper. In case you’re stuck, don’t force the words. Save your piece and focus on other tasks. When you’re ready, go back to the blog post.

Be guided accordingly. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to becoming a blitzkrieg blog post writer; ready to produce posts to spice up your blog or other people’s blogs.

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Those Who are Insanely Productive Have 6 Things In Common

This post was also featured on Lifehack.org.

unsplash_helloquence-5fNmWej4tAA-unsplash_ADPeople who are insanely productive have developed habits that produce the most results. If you want to match their productivity, it’d be wise to follow their lead.

Moreover, as you discover the habits that work best for you, you’ll realize that they’ll ultimately make you work much better every day. Be consistent with these habits and you’ll reap the rewards.

Resolve to become more productive every week beginning today by adopting into your daily habits these 5 things insanely productive people have in common.

1. They begin each day with a focused mind

Focus is their key to productivity. They never allow their minds to wander when they begin a new work day.

They accomplish this by removing possible distractions in their work area. They know that when people are continuously distracted it’s difficult to focus. An organized mind can accomplish much even in a short time; it gets into the groove and easily gets lost in the flow.

One of the most effective ways to remain focused is to make sure you’re comfortable while working. Make sure your chair and desk are at the right height so you can work with ease.

2. They make sure their weekly tasks contribute to a bigger goal.

They ask themselves how mundane tasks fit into the big picture. They look at each task’s significance in relation to their business goals and aspirations. This bigger reason motivates them to complete small tasks.

According to the author of “Smarter Faster Better,” Charles Duhigg, know the relevance of a small action toward a greater objective makes it easier to link our smaller efforts to our bigger goals.

3. They master their time to master their life

It’s a given – time is the most precious asset. Each week we have a finite amount of time – 7 days with only 24 hours each.

Ultra-productive people know how to maximize each minute they have. They allot time for every task they need to do every day. This time constraint forces them to accomplish the task no matter what.

They unwind by taking breaks every time they complete an assignment. This will recharge their batteries in between tasks. They may listen to music, go for a short walk, or watch a relaxing video while sipping their favorite drink. That way, they can relax a bit before diving into a new assignment.

4. They understand the difference between “important” and “urgent”

Productive people know the difference between important and urgent. Professional organizer Alison Kero, founder of ACK Organizing, says it’s key to understand “important and urgent are two different things – many things are urgent, and that’s usually determined by someone who expects an immediate answer.”

If you get sidetracked by urgent but unimportant issues, you waste your time solving needless things instead of paying attention to what matters.

5. They get rid of their current to-do list

If their to-do list is overloaded with items they weren’t able to do last week, or last month, they do something about it. They make changes.

Iyyappan Chandramouleeswaran suggests limiting your list to three to five items every day. This will make you more productive.

Conversely, Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse recommends ditching your to-do list altogether. Turns out, in interviews with extremely successful people, Kruse discovered that not one of them use to-do lists! Along with other reasons, to-do lists don’t account for time, so we tend to skip to the easiest tasks first.

Instead of using to-do lists, Kruse suggests working with a calendar. This way, you can plan exactly which task to complete first and how much time you’ll spend on it.

6. They don’t work on a task more than once

They avoid putting things on hold to only have to deal with them again later. They tackle incoming chores once and move on. Many times people read the same email only to stop, close it, and later on open it again. Productive people handle items as they come up – or they delegate.