Um … : Slips, Stumbles and Verbal Blunders and What They Mean – Books – Review – New York Times:
“Some advice, then, to the candidates headed for the next round of presidential debates: Keep the answers short and punchy, chug a six-pack before setting foot on stage, and, when pressed, look for the nearest electrical outlet.”
Ok, the reviewer of the book “UM …Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean,” was being tongue in cheek with the above but this points to something important to remember. EVERYONE makes some mistakes when they speak, especially when speaking to a group. Try and minimize the mistakes by:
– knowing what you are going to say – shouldn’t be a verbatim script – may just be key thoughts and important examples
– be relaxed (the chugging of a six pack before a major address is not usually recommended to our clients)
– remember that there is a reason you are the one speaking – you know what you’re talking about
In my first college public speaking class, yes communication majors take classes in this stuff, whenever we gave a prepared speech to the class we lost a point for every ‘vocalized pause,’ better known as ‘um’s or ahh’s.”
If over an 12 minute speech you did one of those per minute the best you could score was an 88, and it went downhill from there. Most audiences aren’t as tough as Professor Traina was on this topic but it always helps to be aware of when you are going to have a vocalized pause and stop yourself, slow down and talk about what you know.