Cut Verbal “Waste” to Improve the Impact of Your Words

September 2, 2014  |  Posted by in Communication Skills

Words are powerful – or at least they should be. But when we litter our message with fillers and misused words, we dilute the impact and integrity of the message, and compromise our overall credibility. In his recent blog on PR Daily, How to Cut the ‘Ums,’ ‘Uhs,’ and ‘Literallys’ When Speaking, Ben Decker provides terrific insightful and review of the most common and offensive verbal “junk.” Here are highlights from Decker’s article, starting with use of the word “literally”…


I am literally the hungriest person in the world right now.

I am literally going to break this printer in a minute.

The coffee machine is literally the slowest thing on the planet.

Sound familiar? Maybe you even use it that way. You are not alone. Similar to “um” and “uh”’ “literally” has become a filler word – tossed into sentences needlessly.

 Others include:





Honestly… (as if you’ve been lying up until now)

What’s your filler word? You probably have one and you just don’t know it… Become aware of your habits and learn what your filler words are. We often pick them up from other people.

 Using these words on occasion isn’t the problem; it’s a problem when these words become so repetitive that it’s hard to concentrate on the rest of your content.

 Tips for cutting out ums, uhs and literallys

1. Watch yourself on video

2. Leave yourself a voicemail

3. Try to overdo a pause

4. If you project your voice, it’s really hard to say “um…”

Read Decker’s entire article, How to Cut the ‘Ums,’ ‘Uhs,’ and ‘Literallys’ When Speaking.

We must never lose sight of the importance and impact of our words as a direct reflection of our thoughts, attitudes and professionalism. Cutting out the verbal “waste” will provide greater clarity and credibility to our spoken communication.

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