Effective Communication: Reduce Filler Words


Learn how to improve your sales pitch

Stong communication and confidence are key aspects to success in sales. Without a strong sales pitch, success might not be as common. When we are nervous or unprepared, the use of filler words such as “um”, “uh”, and “like” becomes more common. Unfortunately, these words can disrupt the flow of conversation and make it harder to communicate. Filler words can also convey a sense of doubt and even deceit. They distract the listener and can make it hard for them to feel confident in what you are selling them.    

One study showed that 80% of sales conversations included at least one filler word. On average, these sales representatives used more than four filler words per minute. This study also analyzed the difference between long and short calls. Longer calls had a 30% less use of filler words than short calls. A key takeaway from this research is that if you use fewer filler words, your call might last longer. If you can reduce the number of filler words you use in your sales pitch, you may be more likely to make the sale.   

Decreasing your use of filler words can be a tough habit to break, but luckily there are a few ways that can help. Read below to learn more.   

  1. Listen. Record one of your conversations, listen to it and take note of how many times you use a filler word.   
  2. Breathe. Take a moment to prepare. Relax your shoulders, improve your posture, and take a deep breath. These movements should help you prepare for a call and clear your head of any distractions.  
  3. Pause. If you need, take a moment to think before you answer a question. This will allow you to produce a good answer and come across as more confident in your response.   
  4. Slow down. When you speak slower, you will be more confident in what you are saying.   
  5. Keep sentences short. Focus on what you really need to say, and you will use fewer filler words.   
  6. Prepare. Practice your pitch. When you are confident in what you will say, your speech will be more eloquent and include fewer filler words.   
  7. Tell a story. When your pitch is personalized and told as a story, your listener will be more engaged. In addition, you will use fewer filler words.   

What you say is powerful. Prepare for your calls with clients and anticipate what they may ask. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” In each sales pitch, you have the opportunity to captivate your listener and convince them how you can help. If you’re interested in learning more about avoiding filler words, check out this video.   

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