Be confident as a public speaker

How to be a Confident Public Speaker: Get Rid of UMs, ERRs and Verbal Tics

April 20, 2012

How To Be A Confident Public Speaker – Get Rid of Umms and Errs

If your talks are full of verbal tics, like ‘UMM’ ‘ERR’ and ‘Y’know’ then you have a problem. 

But these verbal tics can be cured.
Why is this important?  Because anyone who does not address this is limiting their career success.

If you have these verbal tics you are seen as less certain, less impressive and less competent.

The good news is that you can cure yourself of ums and errs.  Without them, you will look more confident and you will feel like a confident public speaker.

With our clients, we use a step-by-step method to get rid of ums and errs.  It works like this:

STEP 1 – Get Rid Of Umms and Errs – Make A Commitment

This process does not take long, but it can be frustratating.  If you really want to succeed, then you need to be sure you are ready to put in the time and the effort needed.

STEP 2 – Get Rid Of Umms and Errs – Find A Friend

And take your friend into a a room where you can work.  Get a pencil and a glass.  Now you are ready to start.

STEP 3 – Get Rid Of Umms and Errs – Start Your Talk

Start your talk from the beginning.  As you speak listen to yourself.  Aim to replace every ‘um’ or ‘err’ with a pause.  This will be challenging – and your performance will be terrible – but that does not matter (at this stage).

STEP 4 – Get Rid Of Umms and Errs – Avoid any Pings

Ask your friend to listen to your talk and, every time they hear a significant um or err, they are to tap on the glass.

You job is to avoid the pings.

If you hear a ping, start your talk again.

STEP 5 – Get Rid Of Umms and Errs – Keep at it. 

For many people, about 5 minutes of this exercise is enough to start the process of getting rid of verbal tics.

Try the exercise again 2 or 3 times during a week.  And in any communication during the week – eg talks, meetings, phone calls, aim to eliminate these verbal tics.  Be persistent – it can be frustrating.

It could well be that within a week, you will have cured yourself of this bad habit.  As a result, you will sound more confident and impressive as a public speaker.

Alternatively, we can help you become a more confident public speaker.  Not only can we help you get rid of umms and errs, we can craft your words, structure your talks and polish your performance.  We can do this face to face or over Skype.

If you want help to be a more confident public speaker, contact Louise Angus, client services director at Benjamin Ball Associates on 020 7018 0922.

Contact Us Now



You may also be interested in...

Fundraising Presentations: a survive and thrive guide for talking to investors

Apr 21, 2017

Fundraising presentations are hard work. You're bombarded with challenging questions from investors, worn out by long days, and struggling to...

Read More

Persuasive Investor Presentations – five techniques from psychology

Apr 13, 2016

Investment decision-making is not totally rational. Are you using all the tools at your disposal to create and deliver persuasive...

Read More

Five reasons that good public speaking skills make you a better leader

Nov 11, 2016

Do your public speaking skills inspire, motivate and influence others? They should. Many leaders are nervous of public speaking. Some...

Read More

Ten Benefits Of A Better Investor Pitch Book

May 10, 2018

A great investor pitch book is at the heart of successful fundraising.  It should capture the essence of your business...

Read More

Why Body Language Matters When Pitching to Win Business

Jun 29, 2012

Better Body Language We all know that body language is important in business.  But how important? And does is really...

Read More

Private Equity Fundraising Tips from the Experts: Become a Top 1% Fund

Sep 06, 2017

How can you be seen as a top 1% fund by investors? At SuperReturn Emerging Markets in Amsterdam, experienced LPs...

Read More

How you can create a powerful elevator pitch

Mar 07, 2016

A great elevator pitch is an essential part of your toolkit Last month I chaired the Quickfire Showcase at Berlin’s...

Read More

How to Take Charge of Your Media Interviews

Jan 16, 2013

Better Media Interviews The excruciating Newsnight interview with Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this summer is just one example of how poor preparation...

Read More

How To Write So People Will Read – 6 Great Tips

Mar 11, 2018

These days, we are writing more than ever.  That means it’s harder than ever to grab attention.  Your readers have...

Read More

How well do you answer difficult investor questions?

Nov 16, 2017

When an investor questions how you calculated your Private Equity fund's performance, how do you react? If an investor asks...

Read More

How to Choose a Public Speaking Coach

Aug 21, 2017

How do you choose a public speaking coach? When selecting a public speaking coach or presentation trainer, you want to work...

Read More

10 Power Language techniques to use in your next talk or presentation

Sep 06, 2017

How To Harness Powerful Language For Leadership Communications Great leaders use Power Language. It adds interest and colour to what...

Read More

The “So What?” Test

Dec 30, 2009

When you put your talk or presentation together, how do you decide what to include and what to leave out?  Use...

Read More

Private equity fundraising | Seven tips for first investor meetings

Dec 10, 2015

What do LPs want from private equity funds at first investor meetings? That's the question I put to the panel...

Read More

What do investors want? Six pitch tips for 2017

Sep 21, 2016

While we wrote this piece with our Private Equity clients in mind, there are good lessons here for anyone pitching...

Read More

Give high impact talks and presentations – 5 simple tips

Mar 01, 2017

Do you want to give high impact talks and presentations? Do you want to engage your audience? And do you want...

Read More

Storytelling: your secret weapon for effective business communication

Jul 05, 2017

Leaders use storytelling so that audiences listen, remember and act on what they say. In fact, stories are “the single...

Read More

Make Your Investment Pitch More Memorable – Six Simple Tips

Mar 29, 2017

How do you make your investment pitch more memorable? It's a real challenge these days. Investors have more opportunities than...

Read More

Three persuasive appeals you must use in your talks and presentations

Nov 30, 2016

Your leadership talks need to be persuasive As a leader, every talk or presentation you give is an exercise in persuasion....

Read More

What do LPs want from your private equity pitch book?

Oct 14, 2015

A well-crafted private equity pitch book can make the difference between securing a first meeting with investors and getting a...

Read More


Our Most Popular Coaching Programmes

1. Improve Your Investor Pitch

2. Public Speaking Coaching

3. Presentation Coaching

4. Media Training

N.B. All our coaching is in-house (Not ‘open’ courses) either 1:1 or in small groups.
Contact Us Now


Top Blog Post Categories

What Our Clients Say

“The new presentation properly represents the institutional quality of our fund. It has been a step change for us.”

Erwin de Kleijn Head of IR, Saemor Capital

“This training has contributed directly to new business – including a new FTSE100 client.”

Michelle Elstein Head of Business Development, Olswang LLP

“BBA transformed our pitch into a compelling investment narrative. They undoubtedly helped us secure Sky TV as an investor.”

Gerry Bastable  Director, Blast Films

To Learn More…

Contact our
Client Services Director
Louise Angus
+44 (0)20 7018 0922