Hello. My name is Steve and I have a verbal crutch. So, whenever I talk to my listener via my podcast I want to sound, you know, conversational and sorta natural. Anyway, um, I noticed that I kinda can’t get away from starting every sentence off with “So”.
So… (see that, I did it again!) I presented my problem to an online forum and guess what? I’m not the only one suffering from this improper use of the English language. There are many podcasters who use unnecessary words to bridge thoughts between sentences, many who have podcasts much more successful than mine.
The most common verbal crutches
Here is a list of the verbal crutches I use as well as some mentioned from the Podcast Technology Resource Group.
Beware: You can’t un-read this!
- You see
- Ya know
Now that you’ve read them I’ll bet you start to notice them in your own show. Sorry about that.
How to cure a verbal crutch
Here are some of the great suggestions the Podcast Technology Resource Group offered:
A LOT of people use the “So” crutch. I hear it in interviews (podcast or otherwise) all the time and it drives me crazy.
Years ago, when I participated in Toastmasters, we did an exercise: the speaker would talk and the listener would clap every time you used a crutch – for example, “uh”, “um”, “so”, “well”.
This helped me back then. I need a refresher.
Slow down. When you give yourself enough time to hear it coming, you can leave it out.
Even if the slowing down sounds unnatural at first, you’ll get back to a decent speed once you train yourself to not say “so” all the time.
Part of it is awareness (which means reviewing your show). My new one is “Right?” Its like the American version of the Canadian “eh?”
The first step is knowing that I do it. That seems to help. I’m better at ya know than I use to be, and if you prep more and know what you’re going to say you will get better at ums. Part of it is just practice.
Get used to a pause. Another big thing I do is if I do mess up, I wait 10 seconds (its a long time) and then go back and say whatever I was saying. This makes it SUPER easy to spot flubs.
Wait, they get better
Editing and training, as well as the “UmErUhYknow” Jar are how to cure a verbal crutch.
When we get to the jar, bad habits disappear pretty quickly inside my studio 🙂
Stephen Kling, host of the soon-to-be-released “Oh honey, yes” podcast
Have someone listen to you and literally count how many times you say the word. Once you become aware and hear it yourself you can try other words, being aware is the first step and sounds like you are.
A fellow trainer of mine said to me once don’t be afraid of the power of pause – meaning not speaking. Often times we use filler words I.e so, um, like, we’ll…etc. as a way to collect our thoughts and for us not to be perceived as boring or not having much to say. When in reality it’s the exact opposite. Avoid them by being aware, and pause when your thinking of what to say next. It’s a more powerful speaking method – I guarantee it’s more noticeable to you than it is to anyone else. 🙂
First I started by editing some of my favorites out of the podcast. I love to say awesome and absolutely.
Now I simply put a little postcard in front of my monitor and when I’m interviewing a guest I use one of the words on the postcard. All the words are transition words and positive affirmations such as that’s fantastic, let’s switch gears now, along those lines, I’ve been wondering, that type of stuff.
Anyway, the postcards trick works brilliantly for me. Give it a try.
How I am going to cure a verbal crutch in my podcast
Those are all great suggestions. I’d love to join a ToastMasters group or have someone count how many times I say “um” or “you know”. But I do believe I can start with these three:
- Review my podcast: I usually listen to make sure the download works properly but I’m going to start listening for the verbal crutches
- Slow down, allow myself an extra pause between sentences, and mentally prepare to start the next sentence without a crutch
- Position a postcard near my microphone with positive transition words like “That’s fantastic” or “Let’s switch gears now”
Over time I hope to reduce the amount of verbal crutches in my show.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to cure a verbal crutch in my podcast?