You do not want the jury or the judge counting how many times you have said “um.” You want the jury or the judge thinking about your argument.
Some easy ways to rid these words from your vocabulary:
- Pause. Pausing between thoughts gives you time to carefully formulate sentences. The “awkward silence” is typically not as awkward as you think it is.
- Review your progress. Recording yourself while practicing prior to making an argument can help with self-awareness. However, reviewing past transcripts from depositions or hearings may be the most effective “real time” assessment.
- Fine yourself. We have all heard of the “swear jar.” The principle can be translated to stop other habits as well. Fine yourself when you catch yourself using a filler word!
After a little practice and self-assessment, you will notice the difference, and your audience will notice a cleaner message without distracting filler words.