I was once in a meeting where one of my colleagues was giving a presentation to the entire team. He had executed some work and wanted to give us an update and to teach us about a new method which he had discovered. During the course of this presentation, I noticed how much his use of filler words was distracting me.

Before long, I started counting (blame it on my Toastmasters experience). Generally, he was speaking at about 120 words per minute, which is about normal speaking speed. However, I also noticed that he was also averaging at about 20 filler words per minute – this means that for every 10 words which he spoke, there was an uhm. Just to help you understand er what I am trying to uhm say. He would start uhm a sentence and as you are beginning er to understand uhm what he was saying, the words you know will be punctuated with uhm, uhm.

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