Here is Presentation Skills Tip number three in our strategic manage your message series:
I have a friend that had one of his speeches recorded. When he got it back he was impressed with how smoothly it all went, see he really thought he had conquered the problem and that he spoke that day without any awkward sounds or pauses…. until he got the “out takes”. The sound company had cut all of his “ahs,” “umms,” and awkward throat clearings and then put them on one video file for him. It ran for almost 9 minutes straight of those awkward sounds!! He just about died.
What you want to recognize is that those awkward pauses and sounds are YOUR BRAINS way of transitioning what you are saying. Literally it is the gate in your brain from one channel to the next opening up as it moves along. It is something you can get rid of but it requires practice.
At our Presentation Skills Training, we have had people go from 42 of these awkward pauses in 5 minutes of speaking down to only 2 in just a few hours. There is a way to get rid of them. It will require you to have a friend work with you on raising your brain’s awareness of when you use them and how you use them. Literally you are going to bring it from your unconscious mind to your conscious mind where you can make the change.
Here is the easy way to get rid of them:
1. Pick a silent signal someone will use to let you know that you just used an awkward transition word. Using a raised pencil or a finger on your cheek are good ones to use because you can do them in a meeting where the speaker can see them but no one else can.
2. When you see the signal just look down to the right and re-frame what you were saying.
You will find that if you do this about 8 times by the eighth time you will have virtually eliminated the awkward sounds from your speaking.
Test it out today and see how you do!