So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words?

from NYTs

So, how do you, like, um, stop using verbal fillers that can make you sound, you know, nervous or not so smart?

Is there a name for this?

Communications experts describe “um,” “aah,” “you know” and similar expressions as discourse markers, interjections or verbal pauses.

They often occur when we are trying to think of the next thing we are going to say, Susan Mackey-Kallis, an associate professor at Villanova University who teaches public speaking, said in an email.

When stakes are high or we are nervous — in a job or media interview, or during a speech, presentation or conference call — we tend not to breathe as much and we talk faster, so our words get ahead of our thoughts, Lisa B. Marshall, a communications expert and the author of “Smart Talk: The Public Speaker’s Guide to Success in Every Situation,” said in an interview.

More here.

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44 Responses to So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words?

  1. Lauren Burbank March 3, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    This topic, the user of filler words, is very amusing in my opinion. I broke out of this habit, for the most part, because of a few exercises and people in my life who helped me improve myself. I had a professor in my first year of college who would have us put a quarter in a jar every time we used a filler word. My mom also would instantly repeat me and my siblings in a mocking voice if we used filler words while speaking to her. She constantly reminded us that she did not teach us to speak this way and she would “break any bad habit picked up outside of her house.” I appreciate her efforts though because I don’t like the way it sounds in conversation. I can admit I would get annoyed when one of my friends overused the word “like” or the phrase “you know,” especially since some of them were excessive.
    The article pointed out this is a form of “generation speak,” and has become a normal way of communicating amongst people in their 20s. I will also add that its contagious, as for some reason when someone speaks to me a certain way, I automatically start to mirror their way of talking. The double standard of who can use it without being judged is interesting, but understandable. If someone has proven to be credible and knowledgeable, their use of filler words can be overlooked by the message they’re getting across and the previous work they have contributed. I believe that we can all make an effort to judge each other less, while agreeing to also make the effort to improve ourselves. Communication and language is such an important part of life, and we should respect it by using it properly as much as we possibly can.
    I don’t really have an issue using “like” as a filler word, my crutch has always been “um.” I think this is because in my first high school English class, there was a girl who used “like” between every two words and it drove me crazy. I utilized one of the methods discussed in the article. Every time I feel myself talking ahead of my thoughts, I take a moment of silence and take a breath before continuing my sentences. This is effective for me, although as indicated in the article, it can feel awkward at times. When it comes to presentations, prewritten speeches, and answers to things like test reviews, I have less difficulty with avoiding filler words because I have rehearsed everything I need to say. I also don’t have this issue in interviews. I am most affected in regular conversations where I’m trying to explain something to someone, usually in the form of a casual debate. I know my material, but I tend to get a little ahead of myself when arguing a point.
    I view this as a good form of learning how to make self-improvements. There are many little things we all do that we could be more aware of, and in turn work to better. Whether it’s filler words, saying please and thank you more often, remembering to answer people’s text messages, or being mindful not to interrupt others when speaking, we should always be looking for ways to be more well-rounded individuals.

  2. Olivia Tarnawska March 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    This article definitely defines the bad habits that Professor Shannon is trying to break his students from. One of the most common filler words is “like”. Students, including myself, tend to use these filler words to a great extent. Like the article states, “once you start into the pattern, it becomes a crunch”, holds very true. Once that habit is made, people don’t even realize how many times they use a filler word while talking, let alone even in one sentence. The article also mentions that “awareness” is the first step to break this habit. That is what I think Professor Shannon initially does when he is counting the amount of times a student says “like”. Although funny, what he really wants to do is make the student become aware of the bad habit they are doing. Public speaking is definitely a time where I get nervous and sometimes fail to control the amount of fillers I use. “Like” and “um” seem to become my vocabulary when giving speeches. When you are the presenter you don’t really notice how much these filler words take away from a presentation until you are in the audience and are hearing it for yourself. They not only take away from the presentation but enforce how nervous a person is, and the more nervous a person is the more fillers they tend to use. I enjoyed reading that taking pauses and deep breaths is something that will help break the habit. Taking your time and allowing yourself to relax will for sure be an advantage. My goal is to stop using these filler words not only during presentations, but with daily conversations. It is a cycle that is hard to break, but when broken, helps you have a better speech pattern. You always want to put your best foot forward and leave a great impression, but having a speech pattern that is full of filler words might not do that. I will continue to be aware of preventing myself from being sucked into this bad habit. However it might be a challange, but one I am willing to work at.

  3. George Tannous March 3, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    I found this article to be very relevant to what Professor Shannon tries to push on all of us to stop using filler words and specifically the word ‘like’. Not only is it distracting to all listeners, but it is a bad habit to have. I used to have a minor issue with using filler words early in high school but I really had to force myself to quit using those filler words. Now when I hear other people use the word ‘like’ so often in my other classes and they keep repeating it and the professor does not say anything I kind of get bothered. It is very hard to concentrate on what one is saying when they keep repeating the word ‘like’.
    As the article tries to point out that people who use vocal fillers are using it because it is ‘cool’ or ‘generational speech’ but I have to disagree with that assumption. The majority of people who use it are using it because they are under pressure to come up with an on the spot answer. In a sense, people use it mainly because they are trying to buy time to come up with an answer. When I used to use fillers it was for this exact reason, because one may feel as if they have to answer a question quickly. I used to rush my answer or response and naturally I would feel the compulsion to use a filler word.
    The best way to get rid of the habit of using filler words as the article points out is to be aware of when you are using them. When I was first trying to stop with the use of filler words I had to be overly aware of when I was thinking of using one. This really and ultimately helped me to replace the filler words I was using. Now when I am speaking, I do not feel the compulsion to use ‘like’ or any filler word, I just calm my mind and speak articulately and clearly. Another way to stop using filler words is to have a teacher or professor who says something each time someone uses ‘like’. It may seem annoying at first but in the long run it is very beneficial. It is a habit that one cannot bring into a job or a career as it is distracting and not a professional habit. Especially when one is communicating to a person over the age of 35 whose generations never had such bad speaking habits, it is detrimental to a business relationship. Just as the article points out, the older generations see it as a lack of intelligence. If you are trying to sell someone something and you continually keep saying ‘like’ or ‘so’ they are very likely to find someone else. Same thing goes for a job interview and the interviewer analyzes how you speak. If you speak without confidence and easily get involved with fillers, you may not get the job just for this simple reason.

  4. Evan Costello March 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    This habit is common among people my age, but more common in people that are younger, as in the age of around fifteen to seventeen. I myself have never had an issue with filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘like’. I have been a proficient public speaker for a while now, for some reason public speaking has come naturally to me. Granted, I did once have a habit of using note cards while I spoke, but I never used filler words. I believe that the common use of filler words relates to the use of texting. In a paradox where people now text more than they talk, there is no use for grammar and no use for speaking correctly when there is no face to face contact. The use of filler words is simply non-professional syntax. It reflects that the one who uses these words does not have a complete grip on exactly what they are talking about, almost as if they are unsure. This same paradox applies to the use of contractions in formal or academic writing. If I were to use ‘don’t’ or ‘aren’t’ in an academic paper, then it would seem as though the paper would be far too casual and would come off to the reader as unprofessional.
    Public speaking is an incredibly important job skill that is rarely taught in high school. In any English class in high school, or any class at all for that matter, the mere utterance of a teacher requiring an in-class presentation had students with chills rushing up their arms and spines. But even when a student in my old high school was not presenting to a crowded room, some people would use the word ‘like’ more than the word ‘the’. It was ridiculous; it was almost as if they could not for the life of them help but use the word. Now I believe that most people who struggle with public speaking use the word ‘like’ when they are nervous, which is somewhat excusable. But those who use it as a common word that is placed in every single sentence sound as if they are not intelligent.
    Going off of the previous sentence, if one were to watch a speech by someone of prestige or proven intelligence, like a TED talk speech, an acceptance speech, or any number of speeches where someone knowledgeable is speaking, they never use any filler words, and if they do, it is more than likely because they are very nervous or flustered. When one works on breaking themselves from this habit, they sound much more intelligent and also much more confident. Logistically, the word ‘like’ is a word that lacks confidence. It suggests that the user of the word is unsure of the truth (besides the use of a simile). For example, if I were to use this sentence: “is a presidential veto like when the president disapproves of a certain legislation?”, that would sound incredibly unintelligent. If I were to say “a presidential veto is the disapproval of a certain legislation”, that would sound much more intelligent. Filler words are a terrible habit that should be worked upon and improved at a very early age academically.

  5. Thomas Dellisanti March 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    This article seems like Professor Shannon could have written it because it is exactly what he tries to get his students not to do. The use of filler words when speaking can have a negative impact on what you are trying to say because it makes you sounds unsure or not confident in your delivery. However, most people have gotten to the point where saying one of these words is instinctive when they are searching for their next thought. When people are not aware that they are using these words, they do not realize how much they actually use them. As the article states, once you start to use these words when speaking, it starts being a problem when the words become overused.
    When people are speaking, I now realize how many filler words they are using when speaking. I see some people that are not aware they are saying them, and they wind up saying “like” several times in a couple sentences. Sometimes they are not nervous or talking fast, but the filler words wind up in their speech automatically because they use them so much. The problem with modern speech is the over-reliance on using filler words in speech. Instead of taking a breath to gather your ideas before speaking, these words fill these short pauses to keep up a continuous stream of thoughts. As the article points out, if there is a moment of silence when gathering your thoughts, it would be much less distracting than using a filler word. If done once or twice in a conversation, it does not have any effect on what the person is trying to say. However, using “like” every five words is extremely distracting and actually takes away from the person’s point. The person who is listening is no longer focusing on the idea but instead taking note of how many times the person says “like”.
    I agree with the article’s point that awareness is the main issue when using these words. People do not admit to you how much you are using these words, so you continue to use them, thinking there is no problem. I think that the solution of recording yourself to hear the amount of times filler words are mentioned is a simple but effective way to break this bad habit. In order to use these words less, people need to take note of how much they use filler words so they can stop themselves from using them and work on speaking confidently.
    I admit that I have an issue with using filler words such as “like”, but especially “um”. I have gotten better in avoiding these words when I am speaking, but occasionally, if I am struggling to find my next thought, one of these words might instinctively pop up. Although I have said that I am aware of people using filler words several times in a sentence, I realize that it is not an easy habit to break. I think that people would be very surprised if they found out how many times they said “like” in one day. Although it is a difficult habit to break, it needs to eventually be broken in order to sound confident and organized.

  6. Zion McMillan March 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    As a student of Professor Shannon, this article spoke to me on a spiritual level. When holding conversations with people in our everyday lives it is important to pay attention to how much we use these filler words. Expressions such as “like, um, you know”, etc. are what communications experts figure to be words we say to fill silence when thinking about what our next words are going to be. While these words come off of our tongue so naturally and easily, it is actually an awful habit to form. By making these sounds or offering up these expressions they actually have the potential to make us sound uneducated, nervous, or even just unsure of what we are saying.
    When I first began taking this Business Law course with Shannon I heard him make quick jabs at students who would incorrectly use the word “like”. At first I was confused and didn’t really understand the point of his remarks. The more it went on, however, the more I realized that there was purpose behind his remarks. Fttingly, the research has shown that overusing or misusing the world like is a generational thing. Many younger tend to be in violation the proper word use and because so many people in their 20’s and younger use the word it shows a sense of generational solidarity. But because this trend skips older generations, older adults view this talk as uneducated. Sure enough, Professor Shannon is always there to correct us when we use this word.
    Speech experts also claim that using these fillers are dangerous to the development of our speech. We rely on these words like a crutch, and eventually overusing them prevents us from expanding our vocabulary and deteriorates the overall meaning of the word or phrase. On top of that, when these fillers are used in conversation they can become a distraction to the person you are speaking to. By overusing the word it takes away from the overall message the speaker is trying to relay and pretty much just hurts their credibility.
    Hope does seem lost, but have no fear- there is a way to combat this problem. Researchers explain that the first step to breaking this habit is acknowledging and understanding that you are using these filler phrases. Once this is acknowledged you should begin to pay close attention to yourself when you speak and instead of using a filler just allow a moment of silence to collect your thoughts. At first it will be awkward, but in the long run it is much better to have that awkward silence and eventually be able to speak free of these fillers than to continue using them.

  7. Nicolas F Carchio March 3, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    Filler words are words that are used as verbal pauses while people are speaking. Many people use these words because they are speaking faster than they are thinking. This causes people to use filler words, which breaks up their coherent thoughts and are more often than not, perceived by unintelligent. This article struck a comical yet serious note in my head. It is comical because Professor Shannon corrects his students so that they may learn from their mistakes of using filler words. However, this is serious because many students use these in all conversations. These include not only their conversations with friends, but also when they are speaking with teachers, professionals or even their parents. This problem continues to increase in its severity and will only continue to get worse as avenues such as social media perpetuate the use of filler words.

    Social media and a more relaxed view on speech have made the use of filler words more commonplace and is actually being encouraged by society. The social norms of the time make it acceptable to speak in such informal ways. Many people have turned the use of these filler words into a habit, forcing the constant use of “like, “so” and “um” to fill sentences. These habits are counterintuitive as they promote the use of inconsistent grammar and improper English. Social media has perpetuated this use of informal language as people type on Twitter, texting and on other media platforms in scrambled and short forms of actually language. These create habits that are hurting people, especially young people, who are developing their language skills. These language habits make people, especially students who are looking for potential employment, look unprofessional. This gives them a poor image and promotes the idea that students are not being educated correctly or simply do not care about how their language comes across to other people. The effect of these is that society now accepts these forms of language as norms and continue to allow these to happen.

    The perpetuation of the use of filler words can only be solved through a new societal view upon the use of filler words. There must be a movement in society to fix the use of these words. There must be a solution through a change in societal view that looks down upon these improper speech patterns. In order to do this, there needs to be a change in the views on social media and in conversations in the classroom. Teachers, similar to how Professor Shannon handles these situations, must handle their students who use filler words by correcting them. It is highly effective as it forces students to listen to their own speaking and to focus on their own proper speaking habits. If people are corrected and encouraged by society to speak effectively then they will be able to improve on their speech habits. These improvements will help them act more professional and sound better for potential employers who hope to hire intelligent and mature people. Through these improvements, then there will be strong, intelligent and capable students who can hold conversations with a professional tone.

  8. Derek Luckman March 3, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    It’s funny to me reading this article because I was just talking to my girlfriend about speaking patterns and how certain phrases make it appear as if you aren’t speaking with confidence, even if that is not the case. I expressed to her that it may subconsciously rub off on us because of the casual conversation we are constantly engaged in with our peers. It has a habit that I am aware of and making an effort to fix. However, the article is correct in pointing out that once the habit is formed it becomes somewhat of a crutch in conversation. For instance, I find myself being less expressive when conversing and instead of saying how I feel I will end phrases with “you know what I mean?”. Filler words often give people time to think or cover up and awkward silence as they gather their thoughts but I would say the silence is probably the better option in these situations. I do feel as if when I’m speaking to older generations it makes me a sound a bit more uneducated and I could see how it can present itself as immaturity however in reference to the article I often do see many older generations that will start off their sentences with a prolonged “soooo” while they gather together their thoughts. For some people I feel as if they are just not comfortable with silence in a conversation and that’s why they really on these words or phrases in order to fill the air. In my case I do not mind the silences throughout conversation as I feel they are necessary in having good conversation. To me, it signifies that you are taking the time to put together your thoughts and thinking before you speak, which is refreshing as I see more and more people who simply blurt out things before they even process them thru their minds. It actually brings about a different concern I have in today’s society which is that I feel as if people don’t put as much effort into conversation anymore. I feel when you are actively engaged in a well thought out conversation you already know what you want to say, well before you open your mouth to say it. Something that I have noticed from speaking with people I consider mentors is that they always pause before they respond, and that they rarely use fillers just for the sake of having something to say. They welcome the silence and always pause whenever interjected by another person. They are always more eager to listen than they are to speak. These types of habits go hand in hand with a person who is engaged and actively using their mind and that’s what I believe it comes down to with the use of filler words, a showing of preparedness, comfortability, and active engagement. When you not sure of yourself, or not fully engaged in the conversation, it shows thru your language. Some people may attribute this to nervousness but take this thought into consideration, when you are talking about your favorite things are you nervous? No because your comfortable with what you’re talking about and you feel prepared in answering anything that may come your way. For others however, I believe it simply just comes down a to nasty habit that we have developed thru casual conversation with our peers and needs to be noticed, and consciously corrected.

  9. Nick Shervanian March 3, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    This article is speaks very closely to what Professor Shannon saus in his class multiple times a day. He tries to push all of us to stop using these filler words. Not only is it distracting and annoying to listeners, but also it is a bad habit to have. Everyone has this issue, especially teenagers today. I had this issue a lot in high school but have gotten myself to cut these filler words out of my vocabulary. Now, when I hear people use the filler words it takes everything I have not to call them out for it just like Professor Shannon does in class. This article points out that people use these vocal fillers because it is “cool” or “generational speech” but I do not think people do it because it is cool. People use it when they get nervous or if they hear it a lot from their peers. It could be people trying to buy time without even realizing it. When I used to say it, it was because I would get nervous from being put on the spot. The best way to get rid of this habit is to be aware of when you are using them. This is how I did it and I just realized to stop myself and gather my thoughts. When I took my time and slowed myself down, I would find relevant words that I could use and speak clearly. It may seem annoying to slow yourself down, but it will be very beneficial in the end. This habit is one that people need to leave in the past and not have when trying to pursue a career in any type of field. If you keep saying these filler words, you will not sound as confident. Just taking that extra breathe to gather yourself and collect your thoughts will make a huge difference in the end and give you a lot more confidence when you are speaking.

  10. Robert Seijas March 3, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    The use of fillers and similar expressions are a negative habit that show everybody around the user of them, exactly how that person is feeling. Filler words, such as like or um, are more or less a blanket that shields the speaker. These words allow the person speaking to be protected somehow and act more or less to keep the person from feeling away from their comfort zone. If somebody is nervous, they tend to use these words. The fact is that they are not thinking completely clear and get ahead of themselves. These words then come out in-between thoughts and bridge any gaps in uncertainty. Aside from being nervous, these filler words also come out when people are speaking about a subject in which they do not have expertise. The real reason that these words come out is because uncertainty. Whether uncertainty about a situation, like being nervous in a job interview, or uncertainty in a subject, like speaking about something in which there is a lack of knowledge. Uncertainty is the killer, and the real challenge is to find a way to eliminate these fillers. One such way would be to become more comfortable being outside of one’s comfort zone.
    Although being outside of one’s comfort zone can seem incredibly scary, it is something that should be practiced. More often than not, experience in life are not the same. Each experience is a different one, and creates new and often frightening situations. This is especially true within the professional world, where new projects and challenges come along daily. Summer interns see this when they begin a certain type of work for the first time, and have to step outside of their area of knowledge. The feeling that people get from stepping outside of their own area is where these filler words come from. The uncertainty that comes along with a lack of comfort cause fillers, and inherently weaken any point being made. Weakening one’s own argument by reflex is a very negative behavior that borders on self-sabotage, and should be eliminated completely.
    The positive news is that this behavior can be eliminated. It is something that a person can practice and train until they no longer do. This practice comes from voluntarily stepping outside of the comfort zone, and learning to be confident in oneself and improvise. Improvising is also knows as thinking on one’s feet, and is a key skill for people to have. They will not only be much more confident with themselves, but seem smarter and confident to those around them. Stepping out of the comfort zone is a very important part of growth and becoming oneself. Without this practice, people would be very loosely functioning individuals with self-confidence issues, and a resilience to speak, due to fear that they will end up sabotaging themselves.
    In the end, the use of fillers is a sign that there is a larger problem with an individual. The problem is a lack of confidence, and can be fixed. It involves trying to become better through trial, and ultimately can be achieved.

  11. John Phillips March 3, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    Using filler words when speaking to others is a huge problem. As a college student public speaking and interaction is necessary everyday. I personally have a problem with it; particularly, in this course. I have realized I use these fillers when im unsure what I am going to say next. If im not confident in an answer im about to give I will say “like” or “um”. This really is a problem and makes me sound as if im not sure about what im saying. If you aren’t confident when speaking, how will people ever take you seriously. This is a huge problem, most of us face daily. Professor Shannon, calls students out, including myself, regarding this issue. I am so glad he does this, because it has helped me so much, realize when I am about to use one of the filler words. Him bringing this to my attention caused me to sit down and realize how much I use such filler words. IO believe I am slowly but steadily improving upon excessive usage and hope to continue doing so.
    I have come to realize that using filler words, is a much bigger problem than I initially thought it was. For example, presenting cases in business law, I have used filler words such as “like.” This makes me sound as if I am unsure about the facts I am giving, or the question I am answering. This, has taught me a life lesson; what if I am ever in court, in a meeting, in an interview, or anything of the sort, and I am asked a question. If I say, “oh its like…” I have immediately revealed I am unsure, and my credibility is out the window. It is crucial for us college students to realize most of us have a problem, and we must take the time to realize this. I think it brings to attention that we can improve in many facets, not just using filler words. I believe the use of filler words can be stopped, if we practice public speaking, preparation, and just overall thought process. If you can just learn how to give a more fluid speech, using breathing and eye contact, that will help a ton. If you come prepared, and do extensive research beforehand, you should not be unsure when giving an answer. Finally, just slowing down and taking a deep breath, will help prevent the usage of these words. People have a fear of getting things wrong as well; this is not the end of the world. It is better to say something with confidence, and believe you are right, than with no confidence, and get it wrong. People will look at you with respect and appreciate your confidence. Not crumbling under pressure is key.
    I believe the solution to this problem is first realizing you do it. I am grateful that Professor Shannon has brought this to my attention. I sit down very often and work on stopping. I have also taken pride in being more prepared, and confident. He has taught me to be confident, and never say something with uncertainty. I believe this is one of the most valuable life lessons.

  12. Josh Luchon March 3, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

    I am sad to say that I have caught myself falling into the so/um/like trap, but Professor Shannon calls me out every time. I also get a similar reaction to using “like” at home. My parents are both well-educated people and have little tolerance for poor vocabulary, so interjecting like into an otherwise intelligent sentence often results in a grammar rant or just laughter. I was able to drop the habit, at least for the most part, but I challenge anyone to have a conversation with someone under the age of 20 and not hear the word “like” intertwined with logical thoughts. I think it is a big issue because most people don’t even realize they rely on those words to fill the gaps between thought and utterance.

    The author describes the use of words such as like and um as verbal pauses and crutches, and I think that’s spot on. I had never given it much thought other than “wow that’s annoying,” but after reading this article I have more of an appreciation for the struggle. That is not to say that I condone it, but I at least understand the uses. It makes perfect sense that instead of creating awkward silence during a pause to collect one’s thoughts, it almost creates social ease to interject “like.” I would build on the author’s analysis by saying that in addition to trying to sound “cool,” people use “like” to fill gaps that would otherwise make someone look like an idiot for trailing off mid-sentence.

    There are several problems with relying on verbal pauses, one of which is the effect it has on how people perceive what they’re hearing. Verbal pauses in a professional or any formal setting act almost to discredit what the person is saying. At least in my opinion, like and um really detract from the intellectual value of the other words in the sentence. It immediately makes me think that either the person with whom I am conversing is either uninterested or uninformed.

    The trouble is, most people don’t even realize how foolish they sound. In my experience with friends and peers, perfectly intelligent and well-reasoned conversations can be made to sound dumbed down simply by injecting like and um where they don’t belong.

    While hearing like and um in any frequency detracts from what is being said, I agree with the author that there are varying degrees of the verbal filler disease. The author writes that almost everyone uses verbal fillers and they are just a part of life. I would agree but alter the statement by adding that there are good and bad ways to employ a verbal filler. For example, using a strategic pause or even a different phrase in place of like and um help tremendously in making someone sound more intelligent.

    One of the points the author made that really resonated with me was that verbal fillers only become a problem when they are used to the “point of distraction.” I agree completely with that opinion because as a 19 year old, it is inevitable that I hear like and um several dozen times a day in any number of conversations with my peers. Usually, its not a huge deal when someone says like or um every once and a while, but everyone knows that one person that always overuses like to an irritating degree. However articulate they are otherwise, their credibility plummets simply because of the frequency of like in a sentence.

    I think there are definitely worse addictions to have, but relying on like to get through a conversation is infuriating. I would chalk it up to another annoying trait of the millennial generation, but that is not with the intention of excusing the misuse of the English language.

  13. Cameron Collier March 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    This topic, the user of filler words, is very amusing in my opinion. I broke out of this habit, for the most part, because of a few exercises and people in my life who helped me improve myself. I had a professor in my first year of college who would have us put a quarter in a jar every time we used a filler word. My mom also would instantly repeat me and my siblings in a mocking voice if we used filler words while speaking to her.This article definitely defines the bad habits that Professor Shannon is trying to break his students from. One of the most common filler words is “like”. Students, including myself, tend to use these filler words to a great extent. Like the article states, “once you start into the pattern, it becomes a crunch”, holds very true. Once that habit is made, people don’t even realize how many times they use a filler word while talking, let alone even in one sentence. I found this article to be very relevant to what Professor Shannon tries to push on all of us to stop using filler words and specifically the word ‘like’. Not only is it distracting to all listeners, but it is a bad habit to have. I used to have a minor issue with using filler words early in high school but I really had to force myself to quit using those filler words. Now when I hear other people use the word ‘like’ so often in my other classes and they keep repeating it and the professor does not say anything I kind of get bothered.
    This habit is common among people my age, but more common in people that are younger, as in the age of around fifteen to seventeen. I myself have never had an issue with filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘like’. I have been a proficient public speaker for a while now, for some reason public speaking has come naturally to me. Granted, I did once have a habit of using note cards while I spoke, but I never used filler words. It’s funny to me reading this article because I was just talking to my girlfriend about speaking patterns and how certain phrases make it appear as if you aren’t speaking with confidence, even if that is not the case. I expressed to her that it may subconsciously rub off on us because of the casual conversation we are constantly engaged in with our peers. It has a habit that I am aware of and making an effort to fix. Using filler words when speaking to others is a huge problem. As a college student public speaking and interaction is necessary everyday. I personally have a problem with it; particularly, in this course. I have realized I use these fillers when im unsure what I am going to say next. If im not confident in an answer im about to give I will say “like” or “um”. This really is a problem and makes me sound as if im not sure about what im saying.

  14. Antoneta Sevo March 3, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

    In today’s society, the use of filler words has become extremely common among the younger generation. Everyone knows at least one person who uses “like”, “um”, “so” etc. excessively but we all do it at least once on occasion. The idea of how you act like those you surround yourself with applies here as well. The use of filler words can easily be picked up the more you hear them. It is something that people believe is normal among speech. However that is different from what Professor Shannon, my Oral Communications professor, and what “So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words?” says. Both of my professors and this article emphasize that this habit must be broken. To earlier generations, using these filler words could possibly make the speaker seem less intelligent. This makes sense considering the advice Professor Shannon provides. He teaches us to be sure of what we are saying, even if we are not. This way, the listener does not perceive the person as less intellectual. However, the article states that once someone is well known in their profession, the use of verbal pauses are seen as credible due to their great reputation. Since the listener knows the existing intelligence of the speaker, filler words are almost irrelevant. Nevertheless, people who have a smaller amount of experience, who are trying to make an impression, should break the habit because they could come off as being less credible. By using filler words less, it could help in the long run when it comes to networking. However, once habits become a common thing, they are hard to break.
    The only way to begin to break this common habit is to become aware. My oral communications professor records our speeches and we have the option to listen. In my first speech, I got points off for using a good amount of verbal pauses and I had no idea at the time. By listening to my speech, I realized how many times I used filler words. This led me to say a smaller amount in my second speech. For me, by becoming aware, I was able to improve a little bit and it can only get better in the future. Listening to yourself speak is a little weird but it helps you realize your bad speaking habits that others notice. In order to make a great first impression, it is essential to be able to speak effectively. When you break this habit, many doors could open. It can result in you becoming more self-assured, allow you to become more intelligent or at least sound as if you are, and overall make you a better speaker. All of those things are positive results just from getting rid of a few filler words in your vocabulary. It is definitely easier said than done, but it is worth it. Though becoming aware is the first step I enjoy Ms. Prud’hommeaux’s suggestion a bit more, which is, “’If no one has come up with it yet, maybe we need an app that would shock you whenever it hears you say ‘like.’ Or hire a friend to punch you whenever you say it.’” That might be the more effective approach with the younger generation.

  15. Jevon Mitchell March 3, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    Verbal fillers or pauses are rarely acceptable when speaking to members of any older generation. Unfortunately they have become wildly popular among younger individuals, many often using ‘like’ every other word within a sentence. It is almost as if we as a generation have forgotten how to speak and every time we talk our sentences are infested with various verbal fillers. Though very frustrating, it is extremely common to hear these spoken pauses, so as a member of the younger generation I can continue to listen and understand what is being spoken without interruption. On the other hand, members of older generations may have trouble with listening to this vernacular as it may be distracting to them because this problem mostly affects the younger generations. Because of this, using these types of verbal fillers or pauses makes the speaker come off as nervous or less intelligent.
    Not too long ago, in fact rather recently, I too used to be an avid user of verbal fillers, using the word like, not even as a simile, multiple times throughout one sentence and countless times while speaking in general. Thankfully I have been working on removing filler words such as ‘like’ or ‘um’ from my vocabulary and I can thank two of my current professors for helping me point out the issue and ways to stop using them. The first professor that pointed this problem out to me was professor Shannon. On the very first day of class, as soon as everyone went around the room introducing themselves and sharing interesting facts professor Shannon addressed the elephant in the room, our sentences were broken up by verbal fillers such as ‘like’. On that day he vowed to break us of this nasty habit and if I must say, since that day I noticed how much I actually said ‘like’ and no longer use it nearly as frequently as I used to. To allow us to see how bad the problem actually was he began to count out loud how many times each of his students said the word ‘like’ in a sentence while speaking.
    The second professor that has helped me get back on the right track for public speaking is my Oral Communications professor. Though it is her job to teach us how to properly speak or give speeches in front of people she has made it one of her top priorities to wing us from this bad habit that we practice so often. After our first major speech she too noticed how much ‘um’ and ‘like’ were being inappropriately used throughout our speaking. What she always suggests is “practicing the pause.” What this means is that whenever you feel as though you have lost track or are gathering your thoughts you actually pause talking, take a deep breath and think about what you are about to say. This will keep you from saying like or um and is much more acceptable when speaking, especially in front of people.
    I believe that the reason that this has become about is similar to the reason that we use slang, it also a crutch that makes speaking easier for lazy people. Once you start it begins to become a part of your everyday language, which is a bad habit. Another reason that I believe it is so widely used is because of fear of human interaction due to increased technology. Because the younger generations are now growing up in a technology filled age human interaction is becoming far less apparent. Speaking has become texting now having a conversation with someone face to face is a challenge because it is rarely practiced. It is good to take a deep breath and think about what you are going to say before you say it. This can help rid you of using verbal pauses and prevent your words from getting ahead of your thoughts, which is usually the issue leading to speech fillers being used.

  16. Peter DeSantis March 3, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    When my siblings and I were in grammar school, if any of us had an assignment that required an oral presentation to be given in front of the whole class, my parents would also make us practice the night before it was do and present in front of them and any other interested family members first. I am the youngest, meaning that I had a few years of observing my older siblings present before I ever had to present something myself. I would watch and listen, and be scolded occasionally for interrupting or laughing. Overall, however, I believe that I did a decent job of observing because I still remember my father getting frustrated when whoever was speaking would say “like” or “um” too often. The most frequent victim of his criticisms for using these verbal fillers was my sister, and often, my dad would even rebuke her during regular conversations for doing it. This was not done in a malicious way; rather, my father understood that it was a terrible habit, which would come back to haunt her in the future when the presentations actually meant something. I am lucky enough to be the youngest because it allowed me to witness, at a young age, the mistakes that my siblings were making, which has now developed me into a better public speaker.

    When I grew older and it came to be my turn to present to my parents, they would always compliment me on my speaking abilities. It is nothing that I did on my own per se; it was just easier for me because I knew what to do and what not to do by watching my siblings by present. I knew what looked and sounded good and what did not. I am not saying that I am an excellent public speaker by any means, but I do believe that I am better than my siblings are. I still use verbal fillers, such as “like” or “uhh,” but I believe that I am not as bad with it as most of generation is. I agree with the comments made by Lisa Marshall found in the article, “So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words” by Christopher Mele. She says that, ““like” is used heavily by the younger generation, “so” by those in their 30s and “uptick” or “upsqueak”…by women in their 20s and 30s.” I find this to be true even within my own family. My parents never use the term “like” while thinking of their next statement mid-sentence. My oldest brother, who is 27, does not really use the “like” filler all that much, but I do notice that he says “um” or a stressed out “sooo.” My sister and I, the youngest of the family, certainly use “like” more than anyone else in the family.

    Even though I do not believe that I use verbal fillers as much others my age might, it is still something that I would like to improve on. It is not so much that it is incorrect grammar to use “like” in certain situations that motivates me to fix this; it is more so that using verbal fillers makes the speaker sound less confident and unprepared. I want to always appear as confident as possible when I am speaking in front of a group, and I especially never want to come off as unprepared or unknowledgeable of the subject I am speaking on. For this reason, I want to take efforts to stop using “like” and “um.”

    The first suggestion made by Marshall to help people stop is to record one’s own conversations, then listen to them latter to hear how often one uses these fillers. I am not a fan of this method because I do not want to kill my phone better, plus I do not want to record other people because I do not think it is right. I do like the idea of remembering to take deep breaths, and focus on using silence rather than a filler. Sometimes when giving a presentation, I find myself getting out of breath because I talk too quickly. If I think about breathing, this should suppress that problem. I can also practice using silence instead of saying, “uhhhh.” My oral communications professor has suggested this to me as well. It seems strange to create an awkward silence, but I have come to realize that it is actually better than a pointless, meaningless word. This article was interesting because the nearly universal use of verbal fillers is an issue, particularly among young people. If most people my age are doing this, I specifically want to stop doing this so that I will stand out when I speak.

  17. Owen Balseiro March 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    Like, um, so, for a large part of my life those have plagued my presentation reports, always showing up in red and always and always coinciding with a subtraction of points. No matter how well I prepared and no matter how well i knew the subject before hand, I just could not stop using filler words or “verbal pauses” as they are referred to in the article. It was really a problem until junior year of high school when i took an elective called speech and debate. Now I mainly took this elective because I had loathed public speaking in school and speaking to anyone I was not already familiar with. So throughout the semester than I took the class, slowly and little by little I learned how to just stop and take a breath instead of using verbal pauses. And my speech grades went from the low Bs to high As. It was an added bonus that the class was added to the senior english curriculum for the following year so I got to further polish my public speaking skill. But why are filler words a detriment? Why is it important to try and eliminate them from your speech mannerisms? And that is because of how they are perceived. If a public speaker, especially at a high level, like a politician, lawyer or any sort of leader where public image is incredibly vital, uses verbal pauses, what they are saying takes a hit. The crown of listeners perceived the information they are being given as not fully credibly. And the speaker not only loses credibility for what they are saying at that very moment but for the future speeches as well. Verbal pauses can be interpreted as “ If it happens before a thought is expressed, the speaker is more likely to be perceived as lacking confidence or competence, or as being unprepared. If it happens in the middle of a thought, the speaker is judged less harshly.” as Ms. Marshall calls it “speech disfluency.” Speeches are suppose to be prepared, and those who give it are suppose to be competent enough to give them. When that fails because of verbal pauses, the speech and the speaker lose much of the impact that they could of had.
    Personally when I have to give a speech, I break it up into two categories. Can I chose the subject or not. If I can chose the subject to give a speech on, then I will always chose a subject that I am previously well versed in. For me this could be history, video games or any other subject that I know enough of so that if I begin to verbally trip over my words or forget what my speech said, I know enough of the subject already to be able to guess what I would have said and improvise the situation. But when I do not get to chose the subject a new direction has to be taken. During a speech or presentation where I do not have control over the topic, I have always followed one rule. Make the sentences as short as possible without cutting into their effectiveness. The philosophy around this is to make them easier to remember due to their short length and thus as an extension less likely to trip and use a verbal pause while you catch your place. But probably the most valuable tip I have given was in the speech and debate class I took while in high school. My teacher told me that it was ok to just pause, the crowd will not know if it was planned or not. Just take a breath and find your place. And when you have found it, just start like it was all planned.

  18. Nicholas Thomas March 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

    Honestly, I think it is hilarious that an article about not using “filler” language has to exist. I am just as guilty for using words such as “like,” “so,” and “um” when I speak, but it is a habit I have broken out of, for the most part, and am aware of when I commit it. The reason I have broken out of using “filler” language is because of high school freshman English teacher Mr. Zacharia. In Mr. Zacharia’s class if anyone used “like,” “umm,” “so,” or “uhhh” while talking he would interrupt them by saying “ummm, verbal hiccup, try again.” That phrase meant that whatever a student was saying, he or she had to start from the very beginning of his or her explanation. Mr. Zacharia would take up whole class periods interrupting students until they finally gave their answer without any “verbal hiccups.” The method used my former English teacher, while extremely annoying, broke my use of “filler” language. As a result, when I commit a “verbal hiccup” I pause what I am saying because it makes me cringe a little. However, not everyone has had a “Mr. Zacharia” to refine their use of language, as a result “filler” language, especially “like” is common among people in their 20’s and younger.
    I like that in the article, the author explores the obvious reasons for “filler” language, which is nervousness and laziness, but also explores the social justifications of “filler” language. People want to seem cool therefore, that use “filler” language to conform to their audience. From my personal experience, if I do not conform to how the people in my immediate surrounding are talking, I appear to be a “jackass.” For some people not fitting in is a source of serious anxiety problems.
    Since the use of “filler” language is rooted in a desire to not be judged, I argue that people need to start judging each other more and making each other uncomfortable to break the language habit. I disagree with Lauren about coming to a consensus of not judging each other because without judgement people have no motivation change their habits. Instead, people should start judging each other for the language habit so that the need to conform pushes people to be more aware of their “verbal hiccups.” People do not like being uncomfortable, hence why the methods used by my former English teacher and Professor Shannon work well. Either one is left to be embarrassed and uncomfortable, or he or she changes his or her habits. When people write, they do not like, use words ummm, like “like.” If people wrote in that manner, it not only makes it difficult to understand what they are saying, but they are wasting the reader’s time. There is not reason to write with filler language, thus there is no reason to speak with that type of language. People need to start “calling each other out” on the their use of “filler” language because other people will be able to catch errors a speaker may not notice.

  19. Matthew Radman March 3, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    Verbal communication is obviously a vital piece of being a socially capable human. Communication is vital for not only allowing others to know our thoughts and feelings, but it gives others a deeper glipse into us as people. The way people talk can be the basis for forming immpressions, both good and bad. Part of projecting confidence is being articulate with what you are saying. Use of verbal pauses such as like and um are some of the fasted ways to lose credibility. However, many people have trouble with not using those words as they come naturally. Often, they just interject as a person gives themselves time to think about what they are going to say. However, as described in the article, this type of filler use is not only natural, it is generational. In fact, using like a lot in a sentence can even be “cool.” With this in mind, where is the balance between sounding natural and sounding articulate?
    Speech fillers are natural, however humans have long tamed other natural tendencies. To say that curbing speech fillers is not necessary is to say that wearing clothes is not necessary. In modern society, it is as important as ever to be a well received speaker. As generational as speech patterns can be, using like or um simple does not sound articulate. Most people become distracted or turned off from a person who uses a filler as often as regular words. Marshall, therefore warns against letting fillers become a crutch. In the article, she compared it to vulgarity. Stating that the occasional use is fine but in excess, it singlas laziness.
    Ms. Marshall mentions Justice Antonin Scalia who was a well-known and effective communicator despite filler-prone dialogue. In my experience, other politicians suffer from the same thing, even some great speakers such as Barack Obama. Obama often fell back on his use of the word um in his speeches. However, his use was very conservative and it even added an air of realness to him. He also made extensive use of strategic pauses which proved his command of language and his restraint in simply filling silence, which is the tendency of many. Politicians such as Ted Cruz have taken the art of communication to an extreme. His well-prepared speeches rarely feature filler words and because of that, he has gained a reputation as a well-respected politician and orator. I would also add that Martin Luther King Junior was one of the most articulate speakers in history. His written speeches often lacked filler because of the preparedness that King had. That is truly the key, preparedness for a talk will yield more confident talk and therefore less filler.
    Like Marshall states, awareness is key. She brings up an interesting idea of listening to one’s self. Most people have never heard or seen themselves speak. It is not something that is common in people’s everyday lives. However, being fully aware of your own style can help one better fix weaknesses in their speaking. While these weaknesses can be natural, as in the case of filler words, in modern society people value other people’s presentation. Being a good presenter and a good speaker will help build a lasting reputation built on confidence, preparedness, and self-awareness.

  20. Daniel Anglim March 3, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    Public speaking can be difficult for many people, these people that have difficulty speaking most likely feel uncomfortable and nervous. This can cause people to abuse filler words such as, “like” and “so.” In the article, “So, Um, How Do You Like, Stop Using Filler Words?” written by author Christopher Mele, brings up many interesting points as to why people use these filler words, and strangely how certain people are more likely to use these words than others. This article is insightful are poses the problem that younger generations should try not to use these words when speaking at all cost because it makes them seem uneducated and nervous. Although these words do have negative effects it does appear that almost all people use some sort of filler word in their everyday conversations. The author even brought up the point that Justice Scalia is known for his prolific use of filler words, but he has enough credibility that people over look this drawback. The author also talks about how the filler words are more often used by people in their 20s compared to those in their 40s, by more than 30%. That is a significant number, and the author says something that I have to disagree with. Mele says that the use of the word “like” is thought to be cool by younger generations. Now, I myself am 19 and I think there is nothing cool about using filler words, in fact I can pick up on them quite frequently. Someone I remember using filler words in their speeches a lot is President Obama and I always thought it made him look as if he did not know what he was talking about. Even the President of the United States had trouble not using filler words, I believe people should be less critical of the younger generation for their use of the word. Yes it makes you seem not intelligent but it is something most people cannot help but saying.

    College has prepared me with public speaking and talking with proper English. In my Oral Communication class, my teacher was very strict on using filler words in our presentations. Once you start thinking about what you specifically say when you talk, it is easier to not use these words. Something I thought this article lacked was information on how to not use these words, and improve on your speech. My main advice to those with this problem is to be confident in what you are saying. With the use of filler words, especially in argument, they made your point seem weak or that you do not know what you are talking about. Also, something that helps is to be extremely educated on the thing you are talking about, the more sure you are of an answer, the less likely you will be to use filler words. I know I still use these words, but I am taking all the steps I can to eliminate filler words from the conversations I have.

  21. Sirina Natarajan March 3, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    I remember I had a Latin teacher who would always hate it when we used the word “like” when we were not comparing things in a sentence. She would always ask in response to whatever was said, “Well what is it like?” just to make people more aware of what they were saying. It definitely helped me stop using “like” as a verbal pause, but throughout high school, I merely replaced it with “um” or “so”. Filler words are nothing new to our generation and are, in fact, used excessively in every day conversations. They will most definitely never be completely removed from colloquial use and it is entirely possible that they will become even more of a problem. I believe the reason behind people using verbal pauses has a lot to do with the advances of technology. People are not speaking face to face as often and the ways of communication have changed. People are using phones for a majority of their communication and it affects the way they speak to other people. They are used to typing out the thoughts that come to them and being able to erase and rewrite everything if they do not like the wording. However, in real life, people cannot take back their words if they decide they want to say something another way. Technology is increasing more rapidly and it will hinder even more people’s ability to communicate. Perhaps sometime in the future, there will be a piece of technology that converts a person’s thoughts into understandable words and phrases.
    I found the part in the article about even professionals are using filler words in their important speeches. I think verbal pauses are a social norm, but that they need to be monitored and possibly eradicated from every day speech. These discourse markers encourage people to not think about what they are saying before they say it. People tend to talk more frequently when they are unsure of the words they are going to say. It is a stalling technique that allows people to speak about the subject they are talking about while simultaneously thinking out their words. I think that people need to stop using filler words and just opt for silence when they do not know what to say. It allows for a clearer message and discourages the need for people to fill the silence, as most people do when they are nervous. As the article states, people use verbal pauses when they are nervous or unsure. However, people should find no reason to be nervous when they are speaking to their peers as most do when they use filler words so they should not need to utilize these interjections. I am not all too sure about the reason the article gives saying that verbal pauses indicate an important point. I think that the importance of the content has nothing to do with the filler words and that people are just too accustomed to using them to change the way they speak when there is something important.

  22. Frankie Lisa March 3, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    One of the complaints many adults have about our millennial generation is our constant use of filler words. These filler words include words such as “umm” “ahh” or “sooo”. Many people think using these words makes a person sound nervous, unintelligent, unprepared, or all three of these qualities. However, there are actual reasons why humans tend to use these words. One reason for doing so is in a situation where the stakes are high, such as a job interview, speech, or presentation, we tend not to breath as much; this means we begin to talk faster and our words jump out ahead of our thoughts. Another reason for doing so is because humans have a natural tendency to fill a silence in a room. Silence is usually perceived as awkwardness, so rather than pausing and taking a moment to think, we will us a filler word such as like or so in order to kill the silence. Not all of the reasons for using filler words have negative connotations. Some argue that using filler words indicates that you are about to say something of importance and the person listening should not interrupt. Or we may start a sentence with a filler word to place emphasis on the following words.
    Many people including myself wonder if filler words make us sound unintelligent. Different filler words are used by different generations. The word “like” is used more frequently by the younger generation. The use of the word like tends to bother many adults because they believe it does not sound smart. Many adults in their thirties tend to use the word so as their go to filler word. The use of the word like is a linguistic norm to my generation but I can see how an adult would see it as less intelligent. I think filler words are okay as long as we keep their use to a minimum. From personal experience, I only notice the use of filler words when they are used excessively. Excessive use of filler words whether it be by my peers, or by adults, leads the listener to assume the speaker is either unintelligent, unprepared, or extremely nervous. For example, I had a teacher who would begin every sentence by saying “umm”. First, her lack of self-awareness bothered me; it also led other students and myself to make assumptions about her intelligence. Unless the speaker has a very credible reputation, the use of filler words can make them look bad. For example, President Barack Obama often used the filler word “umm” at the beginning of statements. It is okay for Barack Obama to do this because no one is questioning the intelligence or capacity of a United States president, the same can not be said for a middle school English teacher.
    The first step in terminating one’s use of filler words is self-awareness. Once you realize what your problem is you can now take further steps to stop it such as slowing down the tempo of your speaking to allow your brain to catch up with your mouth. Another way is to simply take longer pauses to allow your brain to think what you want to say.

  23. Thomas Batelli March 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    The use of filler words is a common problem that many people in this generation can relate to. However, as time goes on, these filler words grow to be more than just ornaments on a conversation. Millennial are not the only ones guilty of using filler words, but are, perhaps, the ones in the spotlight. Many millennial filler words, such as “Um” and “like” are the most unattractive extras you could include in your conversation.

    I see this very often, especially as the generations get older; the filler words get worse. Many people cannot understand and appreciate the importance of silence, and many of us (not only millennial) are only listening to respond, instead of listening to understand. I have met some of the most intelligent people who rarely spoke a word. I have also met some of the most uneducated people, whom never stopped talking. The amount of words you have to say does not decipher the quality of the conversation, and I think that is the major problem with the upcoming generations.

    I actually have a friend who is obsessed with using filler words; when she is thinking of what she wants to say next, instead of stopping what she is saying to think about the rest of her thought, she holds my attention with a long “Um”. Honestly, nothing is more distracting than that, and it makes me want to end the conversation, instead of keeping me hooked on it. Is this a nervous habit for some people? Or are we lacking the quality of our words. Have you ever heard the expression, “Short and sweet and to the point”? Using filler words not only makes the conversation less appealing, but also allows room for vulnerability. When you do not sound confident in what you are saying and have to squeeze filler words in, you do not come off to sound intelligent and well informed about whatever it is that you’re talking about (which if you’re in an interview is horrible, because you’re most likely talking about yourself).

    However, older generations are not in the clear when it comes to this topic of conversation. Just because older generations do not use the same filler words, and perhaps (more) annoying words, does not mean that they are not victim of it to. You can see it nearly everywhere you go- during speeches, interviews and even emails! There is sacredness in silence, but maybe not everyone understands that. When looking at it from another perspective, one could even assume that perhaps public speaking and communications was not held priority in early education.

    In conclusion, life cannot be rehearsed and getting nervous is okay- but filler words are never acceptable. Do your best to try and not fall into this unattractive conversational trend. If you want to make yourself appear to be a professional and well-educated candidate when speaking in front or about something that makes you nervous, give yourself a break and take those extra few sentences to think about what you are gong to say next- you won’t be the only one thanking me.

  24. Cayla Andican March 11, 2017 at 11:58 pm #

    People tend to use the words, so, um, I mean, or like, as “Filler Words”. These words serve as pauses in the middle of sentences or in between thoughts, giving the speaker time to gather the words they will be saying next. After a while, using words like these become a habit and effect the way one speaks. I am guilty of using filler words. I never noticed how frequently I, and other people, used words like these until I got to college. I am taking courses now where public speaking is very important, and filler words are not. Professor Shannon counts the amount of times students say words like these to bring attention to how we speak and to put an end to these bad habits; ever since then, I have started to notice filler words more in conversations with others.
    A communications expert, Lisa B. Marshall, brings up a valid point in the article, “So, Um, How Do You, Like Stop Using Filler Words”. She mentions that when the stakes are high and the nerves kick in, people tend not to breathe as much and begin to talk faster, leading the words to get ahead of the thoughts. I know that when I get nervous I either do not think too much and do not know what to say or I think too much and am all over the place. This is where filler words come in for me, when I do not know what to say next. Having this habit is not a good thing when trying to impress someone.
    Public Speaking is important for any workforce and is an essential routine to get used to. Personally, I am not too fond of public speaking, I was always nervous in high school to volunteer or to give presentations during classes. My first semester of college I took a course on public speaking; we were required to give speeches, every week or so, on topics of our choice. The grade received on the speech would reflect the quality on how one delivers a speech. My main focus in that class was to hold better eye contact, limit the amount of filler words in my speech and most importantly, become more confident in public speaking. Towards the end of the course, my professor noticed that I had improved in those subjects significantly. I began to use no filler words and became more confident in my speeches. Filler words are not only a bad habit, but also using those shows signs of nervousness. When going into a job interview or when giving a speech, one should use as little filler words as possible; confidence is key. It is very important to be confident when presenting yourself to an audience and using filler words will show the audience that you are not confident in the information you are sharing. This automatically gives the audience the idea that you are unprepared or simply uneducated.

  25. Michelle Pyatnychuk March 14, 2017 at 11:15 am #

    As explained within the article, filler words do have a negative connotation to them as when used during a conversation or presentation can ruin the credibility of the speaker but sadly, I do not think that there is a chance that these trend will leave us. There are many habits that society has that are poor and discredit their reputation and yet, we still choose to follow them. This is because although there are people that are professionals and lead a professional work life, they are not “professional” throughout every time of every day in every place. In everyone’s life, no matter whether they are a financial executive or government employee, they usually have an allotted time in which they designated to act professional, as in the typical 9 to 5 job. This issue of filler words will only continue because during those days or hours off the clock, casual conversation only encourages this bad habit.

    As mentioned in the article, our generation and younger people in general are the ones who are most inclined to use filler words while communicating with others so there is really no escaping it for us. It does not matter to anyone of this generation whether they are in a nerve wracking situation and use the “ums” and “so’s” that are typical of that of a nervous presenter because whether they are anxious or completely calm, they still use filler words. Older generations see these filler words as evidence of anxiety and uncertainty in the presenters or communicators but today’s young people see these words as a part of the presentation or conversation. Going back to my previous point, young people use these filler words throughout their day, during a conference call and during a lunch with coworkers, they use these words without thinking about it. And yes, using these words may discredit the speaker but I feel that as time goes on, professional working environments will adjust to the changing times and see, as many young people already do, filler words are not necessarily a sign of uncertainty.

    As any other trend or innovation, every generation carries something with them that others will never get to experience the same way. Our generation is only the beginning of the digital age and even though we are at the start of a new way of life, as we know it, we carry something else with us as well. In this case, it is filler words. Every once in a while I catch myself or my friends using these filler words in conversations are irrelevantly used and yes I do try to change how I speak but in the end, if you are surrounded by something such as the word “like,” on a daily basis, the chances of you being rid of the habit of using it in everyday conversation goes out the window. To change the way that an entire generation speaks, it will take a lot more than just a few people recording themselves speaking and listening to them five minutes a day.

  26. Alex Strom March 14, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

    Filler words are words that people use as crutch words to get them through the situation they are in. They are unnecessary words, which is why many people seek to get rid of them from their vocabulary. It is a very hard habit to break, which is exemplified when Professor Shannon calls people out when they use like more than 5 times in a sentence. People usually rely most heavily on filler words when they are nervous, or try to buy time so that they can think of what to say. It seems to be that times where we should not use filler words are the times that we feel the biggest need to use those words, because they can get you out of a situation. Filler words cannot be avoided completely, but we should do our best to steer clear of using those words whenever we can.
    This article by Christopher Mele in the New York Times starts off by explaining what filler words are, and some example of these words. An associate professor at the University of Villanova named Susan Mackey-Kallis, who teaches public speaking, explains how when we get nervous and are put in high pressure situations, we tend to not breathe as much and talk faster. Our words can tend to get ahead of our thoughts, which creates a time for you to use filler words. Susan also explains how filler words can be used in order to get someone’s attention, or to put emphasis on the word that proceeds that filler word. Everyone relies on filler words, and it is seen that different age groups of people tend to rely on different words. “Like” is used heavily by the younger generation (as exemplified in class), and other words like “so” are used by older generations. Susan explains to the reader how the word “like” effects the speech patterns of 20-something year olds drastically more than 40-something year olds. “The use of the verbal pause ‘like’ conveys social solidarity among members of this age cohort, but is perceived as less intelligent by older listeners.” The problem with filler words is once you start to use them, it is hard to get them out of your vocabulary. They become a crutch in your vocabulary, which is very common to vulgar words. People that heavily rely on filler words will be seen as less reliable in the real world, which is why you should do your best to avoid them. The first step to avoiding the use of filler words is awareness. You have to be aware of what filler words you use and learn what situations you use them in, so you can learn to avoid them. Speakers must relax and take deep breaths when talking in high pressure situations so they can maintain their composure stay on track.
    Filler words are words that have been used by people for years, and will continue to be used by people in the future. It is impossible for the entire American society to be able to speak perfect English at all times, so we will continue to use filler words. Filler words are not always a bad thing, but are usually perceived to be bad because they are unnecessary. Every person has a crutch word that they use in social situations that can be considered to be a filler word. The generation that I am a part of tends to rely heavily on the word like. This word can be used in almost any situation, which makes it a very dynamic filler word to use. Older generations often associate the crutch word “like” with unintelligence. To me, this is an invalid perception because everyone has their own filler words. Just because this generation uses a different filler word than that of their generation does not mean that we are less intelligent than them. It is just a word, and it can easily be substituted for another filler word, it is just that “like” happens to be the filler word of choice for our generation. Filler words are not going away, so it is the responsibility of the individual to be mindful of when they use filler words. Filler words can be very helpful in situations, but can also hurt your status in a situation. This is why filler words are so interesting, and I am curious to see what the filler word of the generation below mine will be.

  27. Jonathan Cavallone March 15, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    Verbal pauses or filler words including phrases such as like, uhhh, and you know, are used by nearly every person to ever speak. I myself am guilty of using this words. This article describes the popularity of and growing use of these filler words. In the first class that Professor Shannon held, he warned his students that he will call them out that every time they use one of these filler words. I learned the hard way, as he called me out a few times for using the word like. Usually, when someone says like while speaking, Professor Shannon will keep count of the times the speaker says like, and will have them correct themselves once they are done speaking. After Professor Shannon pointed out the misuse of these words, I began to notice how much everyone truly uses them. Every conversation I heard contained many of these filler words. This article just emphasizes the reasoning for the use of these words. The article believes that many people use these words during times of nervousness. However, I disagree with this because some of the examples given in the article are job interviews and speeches. During job interviews and speeches I feel people are much more prepared and know what they are going to say. I believe people know not to use words such as like and uhh when they are in a more professional setting. This article also touches on if using verbal fillers make people sound stupid and essentially its answer is no, because everyone uses them. I also disagree with this point because listening to people use filler words, I think to myself how uneducated they sound. When retelling stories, people of the younger generation have the tendency to use the word like, in place of the word said. For example, they will say, “She was like no, and then he was like yes.” Listening to someone retell a story this way makes me want to rip my hair out. Additionally, people use like in place of the word about, on or at. They will say things such as, “Let’s go at like 12.” This also sounds uneducated. The one point that I agree with this article on is when it describes how to help fix the abuse of filler words. This article suggests the best way to fix the abuse of filler words is awareness. This is how I noticed the frequency that I used filler words as well as others. One method this article suggests to notice the use of filler words is to record your conversations. I feel this is unnecessary and the problem can be solved by simply paying attention to what you are saying. The millennial generation has a tendency to use these filler words more than anyone else and they really should try to fix this, as they sound uneducated.

  28. Adara Gonzalez March 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm #

    The article concerning the common use and connections of filler words brings to light what many youths look over, and what many of older generations find infuriating. It highlights how older generations are quick to spot these filler words found in the language of the younger, but also outlines that those that are older are not completely immune to the filler word tropes. Even though, this act is most obviously seen in between generational gaps, I fall victim to criticizing my little sister in her use of filler words all the time, even though I am only two years older than her. Her filler words however, are not exactly like the examples provided in the article. While speaking in Spanish at home, she would often use the filler word “so”, she would commit this crime so often that “so” no longer looked to me like a word in the English language, but now adopted by the Spanish language. This would irritate me to no end due to the fact that she was bringing in an English filler word into a Spanish conversation. I would remind her all the time that the exact translation of “so” into Spanish is “entonces” that way, if she has to use a filler word, she at least would use it in the right language. As I became more aware of her bilingual mistakes, I started to realize that she was not the only Spanish speaker to continuously commit this heinous crime. Although she was the only one in my household to speak like so for a short time, my younger brother who is only eight also adopted this bad habit. Spanish speakers from all levels, including professionals to would speak in the same manner and often commit this irritating mistake. This is most common in people who were raised speaking in Spanish as their first language, but English was their dominant and most popular language of use. This article reminded me of her and now it all made sense. It is already quite difficult for her to piece together coherent thoughts and words in Spanish, so it is obvious and normal for her to fall back on a filler word while she gathers her thoughts, however she would revert to her dominant language filler and use “so”. I on the other hand, am more dominant in my Spanish language and tend to mix up on my grammar while speaking out loud, so I often use “like” and sometimes even get stuck in expressing myself while I search for a translation in my mind for it in English. Even though alike my sister, Spanish is my first language, English is the most used language in my life, but Spanish is what remains dominant and the other languages I practice, Arabic and French, are similar in grammatical styles. All throughout the article I could not help but think of the filler words that are used between the people that speak more than one language. More than likely, the studies that were described in the article were conducted on American people, which are more than likely monolingual. It would be interesting to conduct a study depicting the language slip ups that I have come to recognize as common, and not realizing that these hiccups actually reveal a lot more about the similarities in languages and the way the human mind works.

  29. Garrett Palmeri March 16, 2017 at 10:50 pm #

    As we all know as students of Professor Shannon, filler words are combatted in class until you can portray your thought without them. It seems silly at first and even frustrating, but there is a good reason behind it. Christopher Mele writes about filler words such as “like” or “so” and seems to share a similar opinion with Professor Shannon. As newer members of the workforce or future workforce, our generation is relying heavily on first impressions rather than experience. Our diction and verbal communication skills are extremely important not only in person, but over the phone and video chats as well.
    It is perceived that it is a generational thing for younger ages to use the filler “like” the most often. This is something that each person needs to work on. Something that has helped me eliminate some filler words was a public speaking course I have taken in college. I learned how to not only speak in front of people, but to choose my words more wisely in formal moments. I do my best to eliminate filler words in informal settings as well to make sure I do not fall into the habit and let it slip during important times. This is something everyone should practice to assure they can make the needed first impression. You can know all of the information in the world, but if you cannot convey it in an intelligent and professional manner the information is not worth much.
    Mele mentions that experience can play a part in the consideration of filler words. The late Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court was used as an example of someone who used filler words quite often. This was less of an issue because Justice Scalia reached the top of his field and gained the respect of those around him. People knew what Justice Scalia had to say was important despite the fillers. A recent college graduate interviewing for a position as an associate does not hold the same weight though. Every word must be carefully articulated.
    A contributor to filler words, and something I struggle with as well, is speaking faster than you can think. I have trouble speaking slowly so I can collect my thoughts in higher tension moments because of nervousness and even excitement. This is a shared problem with many though. A suggestion from Lisa B. Marshall, a communications expert, is to record a short portion of your conversations every day. This will allow to physically hear yourself talk. In doing so, you can pinpoint areas of your rhetoric that need improvement. Improving your speech is something everyone can take some time to do especially in the younger generations.

  30. Carl Hakansson March 17, 2017 at 1:03 am #

    The one thing I have noticed about my generation is our tendency to use fillers when we speak. Fillers are words that literally fill our sentences when we speak, often because we need time to formulate a thought. The most common fillers are “like”, “um”, and “you know”. Fillers also come into play when we are nervous. That is why fillers are more commonly heard when someone is giving a presentation rather than having an everyday conversation. When we are nervous, our words are produced faster than our thoughts, meaning we have to formulate thoughts quicker than we are used to, and thus creating the need to fill our sentences with fillers until a proper thought can be created. Fillers can be used properly in order to give a pause, alert the crowd you need silence, make a point, etc. The problem with fillers is they are becoming more and more common in the everyday language of people. People of all ages use fillers, and they are often different fillers. Fillers serve a good purpose occasionally, usually to help with emphasis. But, as with vulgarity, when used too much, they lose their meaning. That is what has happened with the word currently. Fillers are used so much, specifically by my generation, that those who use them do not create emphasis and even sounds unintelligent at times.
    I think that fillers really do serve a good purpose and can truly create proper emphasis to help prove a point. On the other hand, when overused, they truly can make an individual sound ignorant. To me, fillers are overused and make it seem like a person does not know what they are talking about. Intelligent people know what they are going to say and say it confidently, and to me, fillers take away that effect. In the real world, first impressions are key. It is important to show potential employers, for example, that you are educated and can properly present yourself. Fillers have become such a problem that high schools and colleges alike have begun to create classes specially for public speaking, to help students gain confidence and awareness when speaking to others. I am a big fan of these classes, because they teach skills that often go untaught. This article offers help to the reader, too. It explains the necessary steps to help an individual end their use of filters. Awareness is a big step. Knowing what you say and catching yourself when you say it will surely help you stop using unnecessary fillers. Once you recognize what you say once you say it, then it will be much easier to use fillers properly in the future. Personally, I try to avoid using fillers are much as possible, as they affect my appearance towards others when I speak. I will take these tips to heart when trying to correct myself, and I hope that ultimately I will be able to conduct myself in a manner that will impress the people I intend to impress.

  31. William Stuck March 17, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    This article talks about verbal interjections and fillers, as well as how to stop using them. Personally, I say things like “um” and “like” all the time when I am talking or doing some kind of presentation. I thinks it is a natural way of avoiding awkwardness. Silence makes us uncomfortable when were with others, so we try to avoid such a situation by making sure that we are constantly talking, even if what we are saying is just filler. When we say these things we are usually in situations where we are nervous, this only makes us say these things with greater frequency. Apparently these things can also signal that you are trying to emphasize some kind of point. The article also says that occasional use of these filler words is okay, but in excess it can indicate that you are just lazy. I agree, I don’t see the harm in saying “like” or “you know” occasionally during some kind of speech or presentation. As long as it does not become something that distracts people from your actual point. We probably all know or have at least encountered someone who says “like” every other word. I definitely do this a lot. Like in this class when I am caught off guard by a question or something (this happens often). Another negative consequence of using filler words is speech disfluency. This occurs when you use a verbal pause before introducing a new idea. You can be perceived an being less confident or less prepared when in fact, you might just be nervous. But if you become known for making verbal pauses and using filler, than people who know you will still perceive you as being credible. They use the example of Justice Antonin Scalia, who (apparently) always used a lot of filler words. The fact of who he was superseded the fact that his language may not have been exactly what we consider to be professional. Apparently the use of “so” is becoming even more prominent that “like” among young people. I say both of those things a lot, especially “so” when I’m formulating a response to a question or even thinking of a question of my own. Being aware of the fact that your using such filler word is essential to fixing the problem. I think everyone knows that they use filler words such as “like” and “so”. However, I think that a lot of people might not be aware of exactly how much they make verbal pauses and use filler. I think that most of us would be surprised to hear a recording of our own voice and how much we use filler words and other such language. Personally, I use these kinds of words a lot. Especially when I’m doing something on the spot, but I also use “like” and “so” to transition between thoughts which might be something different entirely.

  32. Julian Manzano March 17, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    “So, like, what should I say next?” Is usually the thought in my head when I am asked to speak in class. Words such as “like,” “so,” and “um” are the three main words we use on a daily basis when we communicate with other people. These words are called filler words, which is when we use words to take quick pause to collect our thoughts or think about what we want to say next. I feel as if these have become almost go to words, especially for the younger generation. I myself, can admit that I use these words many times daily and I see it as kind of a bad habit. Filler words are not exactly the worst thing in the world, but in a professional environment, they could make you look bad and make you sound unprofessional or unconfident. It is important to understand why these words come up so often and maybe find a resolution how to, like, stop using filler words so often.
    As stated earlier, these words pop-up almost unintentionally when we are speaking to people. Now, in a casual conversation with your friends, this is almost natural as it is just talking to friends, but in a professional environment like an important presentation, filler words can prove to be a danger. For example, if you are caught using these words when presenting the latest budget proposal to your company, you will sound unsure and you could lose your job, as they will think you do not know what you are doing. Now of course, this scenario sounds a little bit extreme, but the point is that using these filler words in a professional environment could dangerous to your career as speaking clearly is a very important factor in most jobs.
    So, if these words can be such a dangerous factor in people’s careers and lives, how can it be fixed? Lisa Marshall, a communications expert, said that awareness is the first step of solving the problem of using filler words. She also recommended that listening to recordings of yourself talking in conversation and seeing the problems of using filler words in action is a great way to fix it. She also recommends taking a deep breath when finishing a thought to prevent using a filler word. Lastly, she recommends substituting silence for filler words is another effective way to get rid of filler words. These all seem like very effective ways to get rid of filler words.
    So, like, filler words may seem like a natural and unintentional way of speaking to friends, but if used too often, they could become a crutch and could become dangerous when used on a professional level. Using the advice that Marshall gives, I too will try to limit the amount of filler words I use daily so that way Professor Shannon will not have to call me out in class. “Is it like something? No it is something.”

  33. Christian Cox March 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    This article is all about Professor Shannon’s worst enemy, filler words. Professor Shannon made it clear in the first week that he will stop us from using filler words in the classroom. To be more specific, to stop the class from using the word, “like.” It has made me more aware of filler words. I now hear how often filler words are used by my peers. The article mentions generational speech, and I feel it may be the case. I rarely hear adults talk like this, but so many of my peers in other classes, where filler words are permitted, cannot formulate a sentence without two to three filler words. Professor Shannon has shifted my views of filler words. I now find them to be extremely revealing that the speaker has little to no information. These filler words are used to create more time to think about what you are about to say. It is clear to me now that this is the case for many of my peers; I totally understand and I respect the hustle. I am often put in situations where I have to speak on the fly. I always start a sentence not knowing where I am going to end up. I used to be more reliant of the filler words, but I tried to avoid like as much as possible. Instead I would use “similar to” which is far more effective. It is more effective, because it does not sound nearly as dumb as like and it is two words opposed to just the one with like. Similar two uses more academic language and you, as the speaker, can stretch the words more elegantly than if you were to stretch like and come off sounding dumb. Similar two is three syllables and accomplishes the goal of filler words. Switching like with similar to gives you sufficient time to come up with what you are going to say next. For those who wish to improve their freestyling and winging abilities I recommend adjusting your filler words. Filler words are crucial to those with no information. Should you stop it? Of course, but you could also use filler words in a more intelligent manner. Professor Shannon is phenomenal at catching students off guard. We know it and so does he. If you find yourself lucky enough to be prepared for the question then props to you. However, for many of Shannon’s students we have to think on our feet and find the solution. Take it from me; Shannon knows when you are just running your mouth and do not know the real answer. He will call your B.S. immediately so there is no point. Luckily, most people do not share Professor Shannon’s expertise in calling people out, so you will get away with it elsewhere. It is important to train with Shannon to increase your skills as much as possible. Hopefully by the end of the year we will all be pros in using filler words without using like or um.

  34. Isaiah Allen March 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    This article resonated with me because I know that filler words are primarily used by the younger generation. Whether we realize that we are using filler words or not, it is still important to try and eliminate them from our vocabulary. Whenever we use the word “like” in class, Professor Shannon is usually the first to call us on it, and I think that is important. Our generation has gotten so used to using filler words that we need to be reminded whenever we do use them, in order to speak more effectively. Most of the times we just use filler words when we are trying to think of something to say. However, rarely do we take into consideration the fact that we are coming off as nervous or anxious to our audience. Hearing someone repeatedly use “like” or “so” when there is no need for it, can be a turn off to any potential job hirers or recruiters. This makes it even more important for us to try and eliminate filler words from our language. It was interesting to see that author recommended we remain silent rather than use filler words. Silence has always been awkward for me, so I know that I would be uncomfortable just saying nothing instead of using a filler word. I took a public speaking course last semester, where I also learned that recording ourselves is a great way to fix how we speak. Being able to listen to our voices over and over again, makes it easier for us to detect the flaws in our speech. I think filler words are something that people use without even knowing it sometimes. In his article, Christopher Mele mentioned how some kids use filler words to sound cool, and I agree with this. I also think that young adults use the word so much because they hear their peers using it and it is just a habit that some cannot break. Although some of them use the words to be cool, it certainly is not “cool” to use them in a professional or educational setting.
    We may not like when someone criticizes us, but that is the only way to make sure that we will eliminate filler words from our speech. Students use filler words when they are communicating outside of school because, formal grammar is not “cool”. However this politically incorrect language bleeds into the classroom and eventually into their lives. It is important for teachers and professors to make sure that their students are speaking correctly when they are in an educational setting, even if it means they have to call their students out every time they do it. By eliminating filler words from our speech, we’re showing that we are ready for the moment and that speaking the correct way is important to us. Young adults should start talking like they are in a business setting because eventually they will be, and will need to know how to communicate with people on a professional level. Eliminating filler words from our language surely will not be easy, and will definitely take some time and practice. We are so used to using the words at this point, that we will have to devote some time in order break this bad habit. I think that the responsibility not only lies on us, but also on teachers in order to make sure that the right grammar is being taught.

  35. Daniel Alvarez March 18, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    Filler words such as “um,” “like,” and “uh” are used in everyday language. I have noticed a great deal of people, mainly millennials overusing such words and phrases. In an article published by Harvard University, it cited a source that argued for the use of filler words. The source was a book written by Michael Erard that stated the use of filler words makes that speaker sound real and natural and inartificial. However, using filler words too much can be counterproductive as if you are using the word “like” after every 3 words, it can subtract from your central message. Also, it can give off a negative vibe towards the audience. So it is important to not use them as much if not at all. Too much of anything can be harmful; humans can die from too much water. The first step to using less filler words is awareness. Once you know when and where you use them you can develop a plan to use them less. Filler words are mainly used at the beginning of a statement and in between ideas. One might use a filler word once a question is asked without even knowing. Also, when one is finished discussing the first idea, one may be tempted to use another.
    I know that I, personally, use filler words in my everyday language. A couple years ago I used them a lot more than I do now and that is because I became more aware. In high school I recorded myself giving a speech in which I used “like” way too many times for my liking. When hearing the recording I found that, as the audience, I was distracted by all the “likes” and “ums.” In order to resolve this, I dedicated more time towards thinking before I spoke and eventually fixed the trivial issue. Using filler words to me is like vocalizing your thought process. There is nothing wrong with doing that to an extent. Obviously, if there is an article about the use of filler words then it is somewhat of an issue and it is. I know someone who like talks like this and uhh cannot really get their like words out properly. When they are overused like that it becomes way more of an issue and it is what the article is referring too. In your class, Professor Shannon, it is helpful to those people who use filler words, when you count how many times they say “like” in one sentence or response. If the number is say, 11, then it is obviously overused and by counting it out loud it makes them more aware of their vice and makes them aware of what they were previously oblivious too. When the number reaches 11 it takes away from the overall message and is almost very annoying to the audience. If one person keeps using almost a dozen filler words in one thought process then they need to fix it. Making them aware is like I said, the first step to recovery in any case and not solely in the use of filler words.

  36. Juan Landin March 24, 2017 at 8:44 am #

    When people speak, most of the time they use fillers. They may not be doing it intentionally, but it comes out and frequently. Although it may seem normal to you because that is how everyone around you talks, it may seem unprofessional to someone else. This is why I believe school should take it upon themselves to make public speaking classes mandatory for kids in middle school and high school.
    There are only a number of skills every person must possess in order to survive and be successful. One of the most important of those skills is speaking. No matter who you are, you will find yourself speaking to somebody at some point in your life. Now, the issue will be, do you know how to speak to that person and what to say? Many people will not be able to answer those questions because they have never been taught the answers. This is why these skills must be taught in school.

    Teaching students, early on, how to speak in public can have a major effect on their future. Kids have been proven to learn more at an earlier age, this is why we must teach them young. So that they can absorb these skills and apply them as they get older. In addition, younger kids are not as self-conscious as high schoolers are, so when they in front of the class giving presentations they will not be as hesitant or as nervous. They need to learn how to speak in order for them to succeed in college and beyond. In many colleges, in order for you to be accepted, you must meet the academic requirements but then you must also interview with one of the officials of the school who is in charge of accepting students. Now, if you have not taken any speaking classes and have not had much experience then you will more than likely not do as well as the student who took speaking classes since middle school and has a lot of experience. Once you get into college, you will more than likely be assigned a project that has to be presented. If you do not know how to speak to an audience, then you probably not do as well as someone who has. Some, if not all, majors require internships. The real world is competitive and so are the internship spots that can materialize into jobs. Therefore, in order to solidify your spot as a stellar intern you must be able to speak clearly and professionally. After college, you may be searching for a job. In order to get the job you must interview with the hiring manager first. If you do not have speaking skills or experience, then you might lose that position to someone that does.

    Another skill that goes to untaken in schools is how to manage your money. People go to school, then go to college, and then go to a job to do what? Make money. What is the point of having money if you do not know how to manage it? This is why students need to be taught the ins and outs of managing their money, credit cards, banking, investing, etc. All of these skills people will need when they are independent in the real world. The world is not a nice place and will not show mercy to anyone who do not know these skills. Schools, these days, need to realize the skills students will need to succeed in this world. I am sure that I will need to know how to balance a checkbook and not how to do anything I “learned” in gym, but which one is mandatory in schools?

    Overall, I believe that schools need to make classes that contain skills on how to succeed in the real world mandatory. This way, kids can have more time to learn and perfect these skills so by the the time they are in college and in the real world, they will have a much higher chance at success.

  37. Jacob Hoelting March 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    So, uh, yeah, this is the start of this comment, I guess. Filler words are words that we use in everyday speech such as “um”, “like”, “yeah”, etc. These words are meant for nothing, but to think and gather a train of thought and honestly they are one of my biggest pet peeves. Sitting in class everyday and listening to a student give an answer to a question while saying “like” five hundred times really gets under my skin. To be honest, it makes me want to stab pencils in my ears just so I do not have to listen to them talk like that. The reason it irks me so much is because I have conditioned myself throughout the years to limit how much I use these filler words because, in my opinion, it makes the person speaking sound less intelligent and sounds as if they do not know what they are talking about. That being said, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects to find it probable that I still use filler words, I am only human. I find myself using these words mainly when I am trying to think about what to say next so not to look like a goof, but actually these words give me the direct opposite affect I desire. Every time I hear myself use a filler word I think to myself about that word, what I should have done instead and then try to correct myself the next time I am faced with this situation. In our Business Law class Professor Shannon always corrects every student when he/she uses a filler word and, honestly, I love it. When Professor Shannon corrects all of his students for using filler words it trains them to not use them as to appear more intelligent even when they have no idea what they are talking about. Also, it relieves the pain from me wanting to stab pencils in my ears.I believe everybody needs to know how filler words are irritating and are inferior words. Every time a person mocks a teenager they always to the typical voice and always use filler words followed by dumb crap. To be fair to those people, those they are mocking sound exactly like that because of the filler words they are using. Filler words are a huge problem in language and they even mess up the way people think about conversations. When someone says “Grandpa died” vs. “Grandpa, like, died” it is clear in the first one what happened, but in the second one it is unsure if Grandpa actually did die or “like” died. If one thing is clear in this comment it is that I hate filler words and I believe that everyone should try and eliminate filler words from their daily usage because they are, like, um, very annoying, you know?

  38. Ryan Appello March 24, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

    Since I started school, teachers have stressed the importance of public speaking skills. In high school and college, I took classes dedicated to this. However, it still seems that whatever fear that overtakes me when I’m talking in front of people is alive and well. And I know I’m not the only one. These filler words that virtually every person uses on a day-to-day basis comes from this same type of fear as well. Saying these types of words come from our nervousness. As the article talks about, when we do get nervous, we tend to talk faster, making it harder to keep up with ourselves. I know for a fact that I fall under this category. And it truly is confusing to think that I don’t have a reason as to why I use these words. They seem to just kind of happen.

    I would be a hypocrite to criticize people who use words such as “like” or “you know”. However, I do find it very interesting to consider the reasons as to why we use them. The idea that we say these words when we’re nervous is undeniable. Saying them seems to be instinct. Personally, I don’t consciously say “like” when I’m trying to answer a question in class or present a speech to my classmates. Saying these words seems to be a type of way for us to deal with our nervousness. If we say “like”, we think it will somehow downplay what we are trying to say. This usually happens when a person becomes unsure of themselves and thinks saying “like” will save them from being embarrassed. Most of the time, however, someone who uses “like” because they are unsure is actually right in their answer. They’re nervousness is mostly unfounded. It’s not because they don’t know the information, it’s because they’re afraid of being embarrassed in class.

    As the article discusses, a remedy for using these words is awareness. When someone in class says “like”, Prof. Shannon has no problem calling them out on it. It’s clear he isn’t trying to embarrass anyone. All he is doing is making the person aware of what they’re saying so next time they can catch themselves. Most of the time, these filler words can be eliminated if a person just thinks before they speak. All too often, a student is so anxious to get what they are saying over that they speed through what they are saying and fumble over their words. They literally can’t keep up with themselves so they use these words as a type of remedy.

    Out of all of the potential solutions for this problem, awareness is the most effective. Fixing it has to come from the person saying these words. If they know what they are doing and they know how much of an impact these words can have, they will mindfully avoid using them by simply thinking about it. This all may seem trivial to discuss, especially when it’s considered a “problem” of sorts, however, it’s surprising to see just how impactful using these words can be in something important, like a job interview, for example. Making ourselves aware of this issue now can only benefit us in the long run.

  39. Andrew Imbesi March 28, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    Filler words expose hesitation, uncertainty and ultimately damages a well-constructed conversation. Filler words such as like and um are easy to get away with when you are a child because it typically takes over 20 years to develop the human brain. It is expected that proficient speech patterns are mastered prior to adulthood, so you can act, speak, and behave like one too.
    It is not as if people mean to use filler words too, using filler words is a habit humans have unwillingly adapted to overtime. Filler words are like accents; I was born in America around American people and adapted to an American accent after listening to so many people talk. The same thing happens to people with British accents, you grow up and adapt to the accent you hear.
    I must have been a confused child back then, because when I was a child I used nothing but filler words in almost every sentence. I grew up familiar with pausing in between words in attempt to carry my thoughts over sentence-by-sentence one at a time. Still today, I have trouble collecting all my thoughts and presenting them to groups.
    I often find myself on or off when giving a presentation. When I am on, I am on top of my game; I often use no filler words. Nevertheless, when I am nervous, I may drop a few filler words to buy myself some time like anyone else probably would, but this should not be an excuse. It is important to have confidence when speaking. When speaking confidently, you are always on, and filler words become non-existent since your sentences are complete.
    The best way to exterminate filler words is to simply eliminate the words from your vocabulary, and expand it. College opens your world to a variety of different people, and one of my friends here has the best vocabularies I have ever heard. Never have I heard him use a filler word either. Ever since my friend and I and the rest of my friends got together here, many of us have tried to replicate his perfect speech performance to better our own.
    I find that by monitoring your speech word by word, filler words can be used much less. The exercise practiced in Professor Shannon’s class is extremely beneficial for the students that have trouble speaking in front of an audience. I find this exercise to be an everyday reality, after so many filler words people lose interest in what you are saying. More specifically, people start forgetting what exactly the issue is when too many filler words take up a sentence.
    Words like “like” are best kept in similes. Filler words ultimately destroy conversation and is unprofessional. Being a student in Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, I am expected to act and speak professionally. In addition, speech and presentation reflect who you are, and how you were taught and raised to perform. Using filler words repeatedly does begin to expose a person’s brain performance. Not everyone is born with a perfect brain but it is important to continue training it the right way throughout life.

  40. Anthony Laverde April 24, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    Filler words such as “um” and “like” are extremely common, not only when presenting in front of a crowd, but also in every day situations when interacting with people. That being said, it is pointed out as a negative habit when giving a presentation and public speaking. This criticism is warranted because it is unprofessional and shows a lack of confidence and memorization. However, this is an extremely hard habit to break because it oftentimes happens uncontrollably, and our brains are hardwired to say these words when talking. Growing up, many people are told to demand the floor when speaking. These natural fillers of “like” and “um” are fillers that bridge the gap between an absence of words being spoken. We use them when we are gathering our thoughts and conceptualizing how we are going to structure our following sentences. We have all experienced being cut off or interrupted in the past, and this fear stays with us subconsciously. Staying quiet while we gather our thoughts and begin to compose our words in our heads give whoever is listening a perfect opportunity to step in and take the mic. Fillers are used in order to retain control of the role of speaker, and forces people listening to us to stay interested, rather than come in and become the new speaker of the conversation.

    There are no real consequences when using filler words while giving a presentation; most people know it is an oftentimes uncontrollable reaction, one that happens to the same person whom might be judging your presentation. There is no sure fire way to cure this subconscious sentence filling, but one habit breaking solution may be to simply pause when unsure of what you are going to say. Instead of trying to break this habit, we can try to break the stigma of needing to talking rapidly in order to demand an audience. Decreasing the rate in which we speak can help the words flow more easily, decrease the chances of people not hearing you or slurring over your words. Talk with vindication and and calculate your communications with people, or even crowds to have a newfound feeling of wisdom and experience.If you are unsure of how to break his habit, and train your brain to stop using filler words, refer to this article for helpful tips:

    http://superheroyou.com/filler-words/

    This article details helpful tips that aid in breaking the use of filler words; some of the tips include not being afraid of eye contact, making eye contact,relaxing, and even making it a point to shorten your sentence, among many others. There are fifteen steps that aid in helping train your brain, and they all work together to completely change one’s speaking habits. Old habit die hard, especially ones we do subconsciously; however, our brains are capable of amazing things, and we can easily train it to stop using filler words so that we sound more confident when communicating with others. If we can implement these tactics to kids at an early age, we can even prevent the subconscious habit from ever even manifesting, and the future generation of public speakers will be light years better than anything we have ever seen before!

  41. Hakim Felder April 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    This topic to me is very interesting in a way I remember growing up, once I hit 8th grade, I had a teacher that would not allow anyone in the class to use filler words at first the transition was so hard because I started to understand how much this word became an important part of my life. we were to use the type of filler it would negatively affect our grade. The teacher understood this habit of miss usage of proper words. I can honestly say I blame most of this because of texting nowadays. When people actually text their friends, they are bound to use a certain type of slang which hurts your grade in the classroom. Sometimes it is best to balance it out between the two. But in many ways when my friend texts me, immediately I understand what he or she is talking about. I think it uses due to laziness that they do not want to spell out the full meaning of what they are trying to say, texting is so fast paced and it is so easy to get your point across. But one thing I know for sure is that texting too much could really show in your writing you might use inappropriate words even if they are correctly spelled might not be the best fit for the sentence because there is a better one. This article is broken down into two categories saying these fillers words verbally and writing them or texting them mentally. One thing to point about this breakdown is that this when the habit becomes a pattern it is sort of like a crutch that is hard to fix. Ms. Marshall believes that many people use these filler words in today’s society but it is only bad when you let it take over your life to much. In the verbal aspect, it could lead individuals into speech disfluency. When they speak to other individuals they are always talking with slang, so when they have to actually present for a class assignment they become nervous and start using those filler words. I remember when I use to present for one the classes I am taking now the professor use to count how many filler words that I have actually used. If I used too much it would show the impact of your grade. Think about interrogators trying to find information about the crime that was committed, they speak in a certain way to make it seem as if you did commit what you are proving innocence for. They look at your body language, vocal tonality, and your use of filler words. Fillers words are words just like like or as just to fill in the word count. The more you actually use these types of words the less illiterate you actually seem and these interrogators can see right through it. I feel the only way to stop any habit let alone filler words starts with awareness. You have to understand what you are doing is wrong and there is a solution to fix it.

  42. Chanel Jemmott April 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    So, like it is interesting to um type this sentence knowing that um this is how I speak, yet I would never write a paper like this. The use of filler words in conversations today has been almost uncontrollable there is no way to stop it. In class we are taught to speak with the proper grammar and etiquette, but we are only in school for about 8 hours a day. And from those eight hours we are only in English class for about an hour. The point being, things we learn in the class does not have enough influence on us to perfect the way that we speak. For me personally my vernacular changes based on the things I hear on TV and they was my friends speak. I’m always around my friend and we are always trying to find out the new lingo. When I’m around my friend I do not feel the need to be grammatically correct around them. Which is a shame, because it ultimately affects the way I write. I have gotten plenty of feedback from my professors who say that my papers are sometimes are too conversational and not as formal as it should be.
    According to Lisa B. Marshall, a communicator expert, “When stakes are high or we are nervous – in a job or media interview, or during a speech, presentation or conference call – we tend not to breathe as much and we talk faster, so our words get ahead of our thoughts”, (Marshall). This quote demonstrates that we say these filler words subconsciously they are the first words we say when we are stuck or thinking. It is very common for nerves to take over your body to the point where you don’t know what to say. However, it should never get to point where it distracts the audience from your original argument. Studies show that filler words are used more with younger generation. What is the reason to blame? Well the fact is social media also has a huge influence on the way we speak. Social Media gives the platform to speak in anyway they want and be seen by millions. If you see your role model associated with fame who doesn’t necessarily speak in a proper manner, it’s going to affect you. Maybe you’ll start caring less about the way you speak. Additionally, with the increase use of social media and texting, people try to say what they need to in the least amount of characters. The reason being because it’s very efficient. That way one can get a reply much quicker.
    Personally, I don’t believe there is a way to completely stop people from using fillers such as “like” and “um”. But there are ways we can slow ourselves down from using these words so much. For example, Marshall says, “Awareness is the first step…You need to be able to hear your disfluencies in your mind before you blurt them out”, (Marshall). This is a great point if we realize how much these words, we can actually make an effort to stop using them so much.

  43. Kathryn Allen June 15, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

    I’m guilty of using filler word especially when I’m nervous because I can’t think very clearly. I try not use words like “like” or “um” in fear of sounding less intelligent than I am. And I agree with Chanel Jemmott’ comment that although I may speak with fillers I don’t write papers with fillers. It seems in today’s world with the younger generations it’s just how people speak. Compared to all the time in the day and the year, I’m in class very little and with my friends and family much more. My friends and family may judge me based on my filler words but I don’t feel pressure to speak in a professional manner even though I know how important it is. It is hard for me to believe that there are ways to correct this especially because people use fillers constantly throughout the day. I personally don’t think there is much that can be done except for deep breathing before and after a thought. I really don’t believe in a cure for this just disciplining oneself.

  44. Amanda Skalski June 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    Being very shy growing up and still till this day, I still use filler words when I am nervous or giving a presentation. I do not like having to give a presentation at all and I use filler words and I am very aware of it. This suggestion in this article of recording yourself to correct this is actually very useful to me. Going forward with my college career, I have had to do a lot more presentations lately and I think this might actually be able to help me. I know that this makes it seem like I don’t know what I am talking about when I give a presentation but when in front of a crowd I freeze and begin to use the filler words to catch myself up on my thought process. I believe for me it is because I am nervous and try to do the presentation quicker than I am thinking. I do not use filler words like um or like when I am writing but when I am reading out loud to myself, I do catch myself adding them in there even if they are not there. I do believe that there is a way to lower your chances of using filler words especially being well prepared even if you are nervous which I know helps me. I do not believe that there is a way to get people to stop using filler words completely. Especially during an interview where you do not know the questions you will be asked and some do catch you off guard. For an example, an interview I had the interviewer asked me which superhero would win in a fight superman or batman. I was not prepared and said um a few times till I answered because I had to take a minute and think about it.

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