Get the right balance between formal and informal! Be aware of the the sounds and colloquial expressions you often employ and make sure you don’t overuse them.
OK then right … umm yeah ok as I was saying … you know, the quill pen … or let’s say … um I’m not sure if it’s like really … a goose quill you know… well anyway I kind of found it errr up in the yeah up in the mountains like… and yeah so … err do you reckon they have geese you know up in the mountains? … yeah, right…
We don’t want your presentations to be too stiff and formal but at the same time you are not chatting to a friend at the pub!
Expressions like um … erm … uhuh … you know … sort of, etc. are natural features of all informal dialogues.
And some of these “fillers” also have a place in talks and presentations.
For example, if someone disagrees with you, it’s perfectly normal to reply “Er … that’s a very good point.”
They often have specific jobs to do, like “Right” when you signal you’re starting or “Well” to show that you’re about to give a contradictory or negative response .
In formal writing teachers tell you not to start sentences with “And”. But even in formal speaking it’s perfectly normal to move on to your next idea with “And…”
But, as with any techniques, it is a big mistake to overuse these sounds or phrases.
Getting family and friends to listen to you, and recording yourself, will help you identify any words or expressions that you use too often.
Make a “blacklist” and start trying to use them less or cut them out altogether.
Remember, “silence is golden” so when you finish a sentence or a long section, don’t go “errrrr”, just keep quiet.
The audience will appreciate it!