Even the smartest minds who know their subject matter inside out can fall into this mouth trap. But repeated use of “ums” and “ahs” in your speech will diminish your credibility and distract your audience from your important points.
So, how do we rid these disfluencies from our flow? Here’s some tips to nix these tics.
Practice makes perfect
Know your key messages inside and out. Practice your key messages often so you can deliver them naturally. For an interview, it’s a good idea to print your key messages on a single sheet of paper for easy and discreet reference if required.
Slow your flow
Don’t rush – be ready at least five minutes before an interview to centre yourself, re-read your key messages and take a few deep breaths. You may feel nervous but on the surface you’ll be serving cool, calm and collected and speaking clearly and succinctly.
Use the pause
Before you answer a question, take a moment to gather your thoughts. Incorporate the question at the start of your answer to frame your message and stay on track. Pause briefly between sentences and aim to answer succinctly to avoid rambling and going off-topic.