Why do I say Um so Much?

Seriously. Whenever, I am giving a brief presentation or talk “Um” slides into the pauses. Why can’t I just freaking pause?!

I was practicing a 10 minute overview of charity auctions for writers today. And of course, I said Um like…um…well 100 times.

I’m not kidding. That little word keeps popping out of my mouth. So bad.

Grrr. I gotta stop saying it.

And then there is my need to rock back and forth as I talk. Like a crazy person. Not good. Not good at all.

Mind you I have given presentations to hundreds of people during college and grad school. At work, I presented to groups of 10-30 people.

But it never ever gets easier. I get serious pre-talk jitters.

The only upside is that I screw up all my practice runs and then my actual presentation is usually pretty smooth.

Fingers crossed.

How do you deal with nerves during public speaking?

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4 Responses to Why do I say Um so Much?

  1. Gerard says:

    My job requires me to do a lot of public speaking. I’m not a natural so every time I get anxious. Once I get going things usually get smoother and it all works out. But sometimes it feels like I’m talking with a mouthful of broken glass and all my sentences get screwed up along with verb tense and all the other niceties of the English language. Not a pretty thing to see or hear. It’s an endless struggle but I do get through it.

    • Mouthful of broken glass–totally happens to me too. 😉
      Whenever I try to ad lib I can’t find the verbs I need. It’s a mess.

      I usually bullet point everything out so I never lose my train of thought, but still when I lose my place on the page, the ums start coming out.

      Worst public speaking experience? 8th grade confirmation practice where I was supposed to read this really long prayer. Except I got nervous and my eyes skipped every other line. About half way through the reading, I realized what I’m doing and was overcome by a giggle fest. The priest looked like he wanted to kill me. But when it came time for the actual ceremony, I read it perfectly. 🙂

  2. berry says:

    Um is a space filler when you are nervous or trying to search your mind for next segment. Albeit it is annoying. I evaluate my teachers and um is an absolute nono in their lecture.

    Takes time to rid your speech of it. But it happens. Be confident like you are in a play reciting lines.

    • It’s hard because you have to be super aware to catch it before it escapes your lips. Been practicing. I kind have to speak faster and stick to the script to prevent um from rearing it’s ugly head. 😉

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