Thursday, July 2, 2009

Speech Tics

After a little time off - I'm baaaaaack. And I want to talk about something you hear about a lot when discussing training or speeches/presentations. Speech tics. Speech tics are when you repeatedly use words, sounds, or phrases over and over. Things like "okay", "ya know", "I mean", and "um" and "uh".

Speech tics can be VERY annoying to your audience. PRACTICE your training or speeches prior to performing for the first time. You may think you don't have any tics, but you may actually find out that you do.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was listening, with a group of others, to a presenter. We all eventually tuned out what he was trying to get across because we were too busy counting his "um's" and "uh's". I actually can't recall what his presentation was on.

Repeating your speech tics - repetitive sounds - gets old and boring really fast. It's a sure way to lose your audience. In addition to just losing them, you also stand the chance of being made fun of (I saw some of that) and also decreasing your believability (saw that to).

Recognize your pet phrases and words and work on eliminating them - PRACTICE. Ask someone to keep a record each and every time one slips out. Use videotapes or even audiotapes to play back to see for yourself. Warning: it may not be pretty. Watch your audience while you're giving your presentation. You can pick it up by noticing their mannerisms and looks.

Even the most seasoned presenters will fall into the speech tic mode from time to time. If getting up in front of people isn't your main occupation, chances are you're going to fall into it more than what you think. PRACTICE.

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