When a speaker’s presentation is filled with vocal fillers (also known as
vocalized fillers or segregates) audience members get frustrated. At the end
of the speech the fillers can be the thing that the audience remembers the
Fillers happen when a speaker literally fills a moment that would otherwise
be silent with a random word. Overuse of vocal fillers can result in audience
members perceiving the speaker as unskilled, inarticulate, and possibly
Here are some strategies for improving the flow of a speech by
lowering the use of fillers.
1.) Monitor vocalized fillers by recording yourself. Play back the recording
and count the number of times you use fillers.
2.) Repeat number one every time you are working on a speech. Each time
make an effort to use your filler(s) of choice less.
3.) Set targets of the maximum amount of times that you can use a filler in
the practice sessions. Over time reduce the number as you reach the goal.
4.) Practice more!
UNCG University Speaking Center, speakingcenter.uncg.edu, 256-1346
Schwartzman, R. (2007) Fundamentals of Oral Communication