There are a lot of bad words in the English language, but there is one that really gets under my skin.
I think it’s one of the worst words you can say.
I was recently listening to a podcast whose guest was a well known writer and speaker.
Though the content was very interesting, it was maddening to listen to this speaker for over an hour.
Every, um 5th word they spoke, um, interrupted the flow with, um, one of the, um, worst words ever uttered in the, um, English language.
Yes, it is the word “UM”.
I was curious, so I checked in with dictionary.com to see if it is a real word, and it is!
Expression of hesitation, uncertainty or space filler in conversation
No one uses um in a novel or literally anything written. That’s because we can edit our writing. It only happens when we talk.
Why it’s the worst word ever
Because the word um, like uh or eh, expresses hesitation and uncertainty, it is a deadly word to use when speaking about your business. Here’s why…
1. Ums weaken your credibility
When you are representing your business, your ideas, or are a politician or advocate, using this word erodes your credibility. Read our post on political branding and how it wins or loses elections
It shows uncertainty, which makes you less believable and you appear less confident.
2. It’s distracting
Using a lot of UMs interrupts the flow of your story and is distracts from the points you want to make.
3. It makes you seem less confident
4. It’s really annoying.
When I’m in networking meetings and hear people describe their company, their work or their services, I notice how much um is used. I’m so bored I start counting them just to stay awake.
There is no vaccine, but there is a cure for UM DISEASE!
- Once you become conscious of using um when speaking, that’s a great start.
- If you need to pause, pause for a second. You don’t have to fill in empty time. In fact, pausing gives space and weight to your previous words and brings attention to the next.
- Get training. I know a trainer who asks people to talk, and tosses a piece of popcorn at them every time they say um. At first, there’s a pile of popcorn on the floor, but over time, the um habit is cured.
- Practice beforehand. Practice does make perfect. If you know the material well, there won’t be as much hesitation or need to fill in verbal space.
The next time, even in conversation, notice if you suffer from UM Disease.
Let’s all, um, work to eradicate the deadliest word in the, UM, English language.
Call The Boss Lady to support you in telling a clearer, more effective brand story.
I’m hell bent on creatively guiding companies to win more business!