Stop using Filler Words, especially in presentations

Stop using Filler Words, especially in presentations


Before I start on this subject, I need to tell you a story. I was in the middle of a global training session in Hong Kong with about 25 people in the room along with a few of my associates. About 10 minutes into the meeting I glanced over at one of my mates and noticed he was chuckling with one of my other team members. I finished up my presentation and when the group left for a break I walked over to find out what was so funny. They had two words in front of them and each had a count of at least 20. The words were “actually” and basically”. I asked what was going on, they told me they had been counting the number of times I said each of those words in the presentation. definitely a bit shocking and I can assure you my next presentation had a lot more pauses and a lot less of those two words.


Here are some popular filler words that add no value to what you are saying:

  • actually, ah, basically, like, hopefully , I know right
  • just, quickly, sorry, um, yea right, you know


The next time you attend a sales pitch or a presentation, listen for these filler words and how often they are used. When you listen to someone that does not use these filler words, how much better do they come across than someone who uses one of these words or phrases to convey each thought or concept?


Think about those poor folks in my presentation, they were from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan. English was a second language for all of them and I was making them convert useless words in their head so they could listen along to my presentation.


The next time you give a presentation or sales pitch or are just involved in an in depth conversation give thought to how many times each of these words or phrases come out of your mouth. If you really want to challenge yourself, you can ask someone in the room to track the number of filler words you use, if you are not ready for that, try recording the session on your smart phone and then go back later and listen to what you said.


Well basically that is all I have to say, actually if it didn’t meet your expectations i am sorry, hopefully it did.

Jim McCullen






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JIm McCullen

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