Want to know how to be more compelling over the phone, or in front of a live audience?

If so, then listen up. This story is for you.

I read another article recently about business coach Kim Scott. The article described her early years at Google and how her boss’ “radical candor” helped her improve her business presentations.

Here’s what happened..

Scott had just wrapped up a presentation about Google’s AdSense business to Google’s top leaders.The presentation was a hit. Her audience almost fell out of their chairs, they were so excited.

Shortly after the presentation, Sheryl Sandberg – Scott’s boss at the time – took Scott on a walk. She told Scott that though the presentation went well, she found that Scott said “um” a lot during the presentation.

Scott thought to herself.. “No big deal. I know I do that.”

Despite acknowledging her repeated use of “um” when she talked, Scott refused to do anything about it. Her boss tried to help her. She even offered her a speaking coach, but Scott refused.

Sensing that she wasn’t getting through to Scott, her boss decided to speak bluntly with Scott saying:

“You know Kim, I can tell I’m not really getting through to you. I’m going to have to be clearer here. When you say ‘um’ every third word, it makes you sound stupid.”

Needless to say, Scott agreed to the coaching, and now provides her clients the same “radical candor” that her former boss provided her.

Now as you look at your prospecting and presenting, are there areas of public speaking that you could improve? Are you using filler words too often when you talk?

If you’re unsure, try recording yourself the next time you’re speaking over the phone or in front of a group of people. Later, play back the audio and listen. What do you sound like? Are you using filler talk that your audience may find annoying?

When talking over the phone or in public, many people become uneasy with silence. So they words like “um” or “like” as filler words so as to avoid silence.

Listen.. It’s okay to have silence when you speak.

Silence or pauses allow you to emphasize a point. And it allows your audience a chance to interact with you.

When you eliminate filler words like “um” and “like“, your presentations become more impactful.

Thanks for reading.

To your success,