I recently received an inquiry from a well-meaning dad who was concerned about his son’s overuse of the phrase, “You know.”
You know how it goes. We tend to use phrases like “umm” “well like’ and “you know” either out of habit or because we lack the skill and ability to respond quickly. Often, we have been trained at an early age that being responsive is respectful or we may be uncertain or uncomfortable with silence. Filler words are part of our natural compulsion to fill the space and can be easily be corrected through speech therapy.
There are two places where filler words commonly appear, at the beginning of a statement and in between ideas. Next time you ask a friend or employee a question, observe their speech pattern. You might notice that their first reaction is to jump in and answer. And when proper wording eludes the speaker, the filler words pop out.
When we use filler words we are verbalizing our thought process. Armed with this information, it is easy to avoid using filler words:
The secret is to PAUSE.
Although we live in a fast-paced society that seemingly demands instant answers, we must use the pause to our advantage. We may feel pressure to answer right away, but ultimately, we should only speak when we are ready.
Back to the dad’s request. His request for services was a perfect referral for Great Speech…until we asked the age of the prospective client. Turns out “the child” was a 43-year old grown up who had no idea that his father was reaching out for clinical assistance. In this case, dad would be best sharing his observations with his son. Sometimes awareness is the best impetus for change.