How to use Filler Words effectively?
Filler words are words or phrases used to fill the silence while speaking.
Filler words do not have any significance concerning the rest of the sentence. These words help you to buy some time while you think about the rest of the sentence.
We all use filler words in everyday conversations. For instance, “I am literally so tired of this work schedule,” or “I have, like, a thousand tasks on my to-do list.” However, overusing filler words can make you sound unskilled. The listener might find it difficult to derive the meaning from your sentences. So do use filler words when you speak, but do not use them too much.
Examples of common filler words
Here are some common spoken filler words and phrases and illustrations of how you might use them in discussion:
- Um: “I, um, don’t know whether to choose that option or not.”
- Uh: “Please, can you, uh, see that the email is sent?”
- Er: “Er, I don’t think I can give feedback today”
- Ah: “I believe that ah…yes, that’s the project I needed to review”
- Like: “She has, like, a thousand duties to fulfill.”
- Okay: “Okay, I think we can take the deal ahead.”
- Right: “Yes, right, I do recall you saying that.”
- You know: “I always bring an extra pen just in case, you know?”
- Totally: “That’s totally not allowed here.”
- Literally: “I literally saw the manager in the break room.”
- Well: “Well, let’s keep the discussion going tomorrow.”
- You see: “You see, I knew that the client would reject it.”
- I mean: “I mean, you can see that tomorrow.”
- I guess: “I guess we can take it ahead.”
Effective use of filler words:
Filler words can help you in situations you might need some extra time to figure out what to say. However, overusing filler words (using too many, too often) can make you sound unprofessional. It can make it difficult to follow your sentences. Therefore, filler words should be used in moderation.
Situations when you can use filler words:
I will share 5 situations when you can use filler words.
Use filler words to buy time for thinking
It’s alright to use filler words when you need some time to think about what you would be speaking.
“I have errr… two more assignments to complete.”
Use filler words to sound polite.
In some situations, you do not want to appear like an arrogant person. So, instead of directly placing your thoughts, you can use filler words to sound courteous.
Instead of saying:
“Your dress is looking dull.”
“Well, your dress, um, is looking a little dull.
Use filler words to change the tone of your speech
Filler words can be used to change how a particular statement is spoken. The placement of a filler word in the right places can change the entire meaning of the sentence.
Let’s see the difference between these three statements:
“I think this film is underrated.” (a simple statement)
“Actually, I think this film is underrated.” (shows that there is a contrast in views)
“At the end of the day, I think this film is underrated.” (shows that you are concluding)
Use filler words when you are not sure about the answer
Filler words are a great way to delay speaking when you don’t know how to answer a question, or when you don’t want to.
“What’s your yearly package?”
“Uhh, Umm. Well, I am not comfortable with sharing this information.”
Use filler words to engage the listener
A conversation takes at least two people. If you speak without including the listener in the communication process – you are missing a chance of learning something new!
Some filler words and phrases can include another person in the conversation.
“It was an insightful seminar, you know?”
Now that you know when you can use filler words, let’s see how you can avoid using too many filler words in your conversation.
How to avoid using filler words
1) Notice your speech: When you speak, try to become aware of the most common filler words you use. Then, you can begin to change your patterns by intentionally avoiding them.
2) Take a pause: Instead of using filler words, when speaking, try to pause when you need time to think rather than fill the time with a word or phrase.
3) Practice in advance: To avoid over-using filler words, prep for meetings and presentations ahead of time. The more aware you are of your content, the less you need filler words.
Which filler word do you use often?
Stay Awesome. Stay Productive.
– Divas Gupta