Pause Fillers and other hesitating noises

What are Pause Fillers ?

Pause Fillers are words that are spoken in speech or presentation as a signal that the speaker has paused to think but is not yet to finished speaking, during presentation there will be times when speaker pauses and think for a second or two, then subconsciously the speaker will utter these pause fillers.

Every speaker tends to make pause fillers, because we are human, and as human we make errors, unless we’re robot then we will never make any pause fillers during speeches.

There are many kind of Pause Fillers ;

Sounds : ‘Ah’, ‘Umm’, ‘Err’, ‘Uhh’

Words : ‘you know’, ‘I think’, ‘I mean’, ‘I guess’, ‘you see’

in Bahasa : ‘Anu’, ‘dan’, ‘kan’, ‘deh’, ‘ya’, ‘lah’, ‘lho’, ‘sih’.

So why fuss about pause fillers ? unless you don’t want to be a better speaker, you have to be very conscious of pause fillers because they can cause the following impact on your audience’s perception of you ; you’ll appear lack of confident, poorly prepared with your presentation, and audience will perceive that you’re untrustworthy and unconvincing.

But don’t worry if you’re making too many pause fillers during your speech, many famous public figures make this mistake, of course they’re not a good examples, at least we learn from them about how to avoid making pause fillers.

Can you count how many ‘Ah’ Collin Firth made during his speech at Golden Globe award ?

Can you believe he did that ?

So how can we reduce our pause-fillers during speeches ?

first, count how many pause-fillers that you make during a speech, for example, try to give unprepared or impromptu speech for about 2 or 3 minutes, ask a friend to count your pause-fillers, or if you dare, you can record your speech and count it later by yourself after the speech.

Be comfortable with PAUSE, the main reason why speaker makes pause-fillers because the uncomfortable feeling of the pauses between sentences. Great speakers know that Pause is the powerful tool in speech, thus applying pauses in speeches requires a lot of practices. I noticed it during the speech contest, the winner used pauses between sentences for about 2 until 5 seconds, during that period the speaker gazed through the audiences, and I as audience felt the intense feeling and pay more attention to the speech.

So I try to give an example of applying pauses in speech, I quoted “I have a dream” speech from Martin Luther King, try to read it loud without pauses :

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character .I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood

then try to read this :

I have a dream ……..that my four little children…. will one day live in a nation… where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,……. but by the content of their character…………I have a dream… that one day…. on the red hills of Georgia…. the sons of former slaves…. and the sons of former slave owners…. will be able to sit down together……… at a table of brotherhood.”

see the differences ? 🙂

Be yourself, don’t imitate others.

Sincerity is the first thing that audience will notice from you and your speech, if you try so hard to imitate your idol or other great speaker, then you will never speak what inside of your heart. Passion is the key of every successful speech or presentation. Sometimes it’s very inspiring to see a speaker delivers high-testosterone level speech with a motivational speaker style, but if it’s not your style then why you must try so hard to mimic it ? just keep practicing then eventually you will find your own speech style.

Be kind with all of your mistakes

The first time I tried to give my unprepared speech, it was the scariest moment, as for me, I also got sweaty palm and butterfly-on-stomach at the first attempt, and my score was 20 pause-fillers for 2 minutes unprepared speech, even until these days I still struggle to minimize my pause-fillers in my speeches, sometimes I made 5 to 10 scores, but when I’m lousy and unaware then I’ll make more score. I remembered one had advised me “the more your speak then the more you make mistakes”……but then if we never make any mistakes then how can we ever learn something ? so practice a lot, make a lot of mistakes, take a lesson from it, and make more mistakes again, just relax….and remember to accept yourself as human being who always make mistakes.

PS :

sebetulnya saya ragu untuk memuat artikel yang sudah ‘agak’ lama ini, sebab sampai saat ini pun saya masih berjuang untuk menghilangkan pause-fillers, namun ya daripada nanti saya lupa dan menghilangkan file artikel ini, akhirnya saya posting juga, intinya saya harus terus konsisten untuk mengurangi jumlah pause fillers saya 🙂