Literally – Just a Filler Word

Filler Words

If there were Survivor for words, I’d vote off “literally.”

It’s inserted into sentences for no real reason.

Consider:

I am literally the hungriest person in the world right now.
I am literally going to break this printer in a minute.
The coffee machine is literally the slowest thing on the planet.

Sound familiar? Maybe you even use it that way? You are not alone. Similar to “um” and “uh”, “literally” has become a common filler word – tossed into sentences unnecessarily.

Others include:

Just …
Like…
Actually…
So…
Honestly…  (as if you’ve been lying up until now)

You probably have a distracting filler word, and you just don’t know it. The word “truly” got me a couple years ago, and once focused on it, I was able to get rid of it in about a day.

Here are three tips for cutting out the ums, uhs and literallys:

  1. Watch yourself on video: there’s no better tool than this. The camera doesn’t lie, especially when it comes to audio.
  2. Leave yourself a voicemail: When replaying it for yourself, note the words you default to when you’re not focused. In our one-on-one platinum coaching, we always give an audio recorder to executives to use so that they know how they come across. Alternatively, you can even use your smart phone in “voice memo” function (the only problem is that you’re usually on it).
  3. Try to overdo a pause. The power of the pause has amazing impact. Just pause.

It won’t take extra time – it will just take extra effort.

Slow down.

The payoff for this is tremendous: Heightened credibility. A better delivery. Best of all, a clearer message without the distractions – like the ones you notice in others.

 

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