PR Tips | Like, um, err, you know what I’m saying?

PR Tips | Like, um, err, you know what I’m saying?

Nothing weakens a sales pitch or interview more than clogging up your points with “ums,” “errs,” and “you knows.”

Just a few “ums” can make you sound nervous and unsure. Too many “likes” and you’re a gum-popping valley girl or bad SNL skit. Luckily, one simple trick and a few hours of practice can lead to dramatic improvement.

Here’s the trick: Record your next sales call or interview. Then listen to the recording on your ride home. The very act of listening to yourself will go a long way toward solving the problem. Your subconscious speech tics will suddenly rise to the surface of your consciousness where you’ll be able to address them head-on.

I’m no speech therapist or psychiatrist. But I routinely work with people on sales calls and interviews. And this easy trick makes a big difference. After recording and listening to yourself 2-3 times, you’ll see big improvements in your fluency. Especially if you make a conscious effort to improve. How do you do that? Substitute a non-verbal tic — such as tapping your finger or, better, a silent pause — every time you feel the urge to say “um.”

Sam Ryan