Today I am in Moscow. доброе утро(“Good Morning” in Russian). I just finished leading a workshop for a fantastic group of Russian executives from the pharmaceutical company #Valeant. I taught them about leadership and powerful communication. They taught me something about speech.
When someone is speaking and ummm, you know… like, ahh, uses sounds or words like ahhh, like so, ummm, you know… then this is what we call “Disfluent”.
“Disfluencies” are any meaningless sounds or words that a speaker uses as fillers whilst thinking about what to say next. They break up the flow of speech. The speech is less fluid, hence the word disfluency.
But in Russian, they call disfluencies something different. They are calledслова-паразитыor “parasite words”. Imagine a parasite. A mosquito; a vampire bat, a limpet fish… something that bites your throat and sucks away your blood. Parasite words (disfluencies) do the same. They suck away the life-force and meaning of your speech. The ummms and ahhhs also steal your ability to communicate powerfully. Truly powerful speakers don’t use disfluencies as fillers. Instead, they use pauses, and pauses are hugely powerful. Pauses give emphasis and strength to your message. Disfluencies rob your strength.
Not only do disfluencies interrupt your flow, they also cause audiences to jump to conclusions about a speaker. Linguist and journalist Michael Erard, (the author of Um… Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean) writes (about Disfluencies): …“If you talk to interrogators and detectives, for example, they’ll tell you that they use disfluencies and pauses in speaking as indications of whether someone is telling the truth or whether someone’s feeling anxious.”
Watch out for those nasty parasites. Learning to remove filler words and disfluencies is easier than you might think. Check out www.Voiceable.meand learn to find your authentic voice.
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