Have you ever had the opportunity to ask someone to pay really close attention to how you speak in conversations? Maybe it was to type out word for word a recorded conversation or presentation you made. You should because this is such a powerful learning opportunity.
Recently, I asked my Executive Concierge, Shannon Berry, type up a teleseminar recording for me...word for word. I was pleased to see it was not full of "ahs" or "ums" however, I was shocked to read the number of times I said "So" and "Now". These are filler words just like "ums", "ahs" and "well". They don't add anything to a conversation. In fact, they may actually detract from the conversation. Too many fillers can leave a speaker looking nervous, unprepared, even uncertain of the material they are presenting. Of course, this is not necessarily true but, it will most likely have the audience thinking these things.
Communication and presentation skills always require practicing and critiquing. It is interesting because it makes you aware of the filler words that add nothing but take up valuable space in a conversation. I encourage you, just for fun, and of course for learning, to tape record some of your conversations or presentations and see what you can discover about yourself. Make note of the words you hear yourself repeating, count how many times you say them. Ask yourself, does the repetition of this word add or take away from my message? Develop a plan, some way that you can be reminded when you start to repeat that word or even other words. We often tend to use substitutions instead of pure omissions when trying to change. Have a friend or assistant give you some sort of signal when you start to use words repetitively, whatever works best for you and your situation. Life is richer when you continually learn and grow.