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“So”. . . THIS Word and Others. . .

 HUGE Distractions to Your Presentation.

Uh, Like, You Know, Um, OK? Those and other “Filler Words” do not add value to a presentation. They distract the audience from the message. Too many of them, and those listening and looking at the presenter will never GET IT!

Toastmasters assigns an “Ah Counter” at each meeting to monitor and sometimes ring a bell when a speaker uses them in the speech. The goal is to make the member aware they are using filler words and to eliminate them.

The big one lately seems to be – So.” So. . .Let me tell you about. . .” So. . .When I was a young man I. . .” So. . .Let me answer it this way. . .”

I have heard very educated, smart, otherwise articulate people use this word to begin speaking. (Some even end sentences with it, also!) Too often, they are television personalities doing interviews or reporting news events. It lessens the power of what they say after starting with, So. . . Some equate it to using a microphone with a poor connection that crackles occasionally, interrupting the speaker’s talk, and putting an added burden on the audience to listen intently.

Unfortunately, using filler words can give the audience the perception the speaker doesn’t know their topic well. That hurts their message. Other thoughts in the audience can be: the speaker is nervous, didn’t prepare for the presentation, and isn’t enthusiastic about the subject.

Important: You may be using So and other filler words and don’t know it! Record a presentation and listen.

STOP using So. . . and other filler words! Eliminate them when speaking, asking a question or answering one.

Instead, Do this:

  1. Start speaking without the filler word.

  2. Pause.

  3. Pausing is one of the elements of communication, and probably, the hardest to do. “I’m a speaker. Shouldn’t I be speaking!?  The silence is deafening. I better start talking!”

  4. Pausing is Powerful!

  5. Pausing shows “confidence in your competence.’

  6. Pausing gives the audience time to digest what you’ve said and done.

  7. Pausing, and the silence it generates, gets the attention of the audience. (They are used to the speaker speaking, also!)

Ridding your talks of So and other filler words will take commitment and practice. The results will be well worth the effort.

Do this and I guarantee your next presentation will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!


About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality, and we like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!


  1. Keynote Speaker

  2. Workshop Facilitator

  3. Breakout Sessions

  4. Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching


  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!

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