From public speaking to telephone conversations, we all stumble over our words with the dreaded “um”. The last thing you want to do when you’re talking is seem like you don’t precisely know what you’re saying. But the “um” can strike at any time, from a presentation meeting to an important call with a client. However, there are ways to stop yourself from relying on “um”, or any of its partners, so much when you’re speaking to someone.
Try the water trick. Whether it’s a meeting or phone conversation, try to have a glass of water with you while you’re talking to someone. If you need a moment to think about what you’re going to stay next, you can easily stop for a second to take a sip of water. Obviously, doing this too often might seem a little strange, so you should try to limit how often you need to stop.
Embrace putting someone on hold. This is perfect for phone conversations where you’re a little uncertain of what a caller has asked. The phrase “let me just query my supervisor a moment” could quickly become your saviour.
Keep notes on you for a meeting. There’s no rule that says you can’t take actionable notes into a meeting with you. In fact, it’s more professional to have a list of questions or solutions (depending on the purpose of the meeting) to bring up, instead of sitting in silence and wondering what else can be said. Doing your research before a meeting will help.