Now You Know Where the Tics Come From
Why do people say ah, um, er, you know, like, and other phrases and words of this nature? In my experience, a lot of the times, people do this because they are uncomfortable. Anything that takes them out of their normal conversational mode such as giving a speech, a presentation, a media interview, or even leaving behind a voicemail can cause this.
What happens is that they are being self conscious and they are thinking that everyone is looking at them and that they do not want to leave awkward silences in the middle so they try to fill it up with words. That is when people start to show verbal tics. You have to realize that you don’t have to fill the space with sound. You can simply pause.
It sounds easy when you say it but it is difficult in practice to remove them. I want to give you more tips to solve this problem which are extremely practical and come with my Udemy courses.
Appear More Confident By Using Smaller Words
When you are giving a speech, a presentation, or a briefing, specially if it is supposed to be in a formal setting, there is a tendency for us to ‘utilize’ words like ‘utilize’ when instead, you could simply use ‘use’. One of the big problems that many people have when they are giving a presentation and they are out of their comfort zone, is that the ums and ahs start to creep in.
This happens when people are thinking about saying bigger words. They are thinking about the words they wrote down in the script or a Powerpoint slide and they are trying to remember the perfect word. When you are giving a speech, presentation, or a briefing, it rarely ever matters what exact wording you have used. What matters is the idea you are conveying and that you are conveying it in a comfortable, confident, and interesting manner.
The stumbling block of trying to remember the exact phrases you used in your presentation or speech makes you almost see the word but never get to it in the process of which you end up stuttering and destroying the whole perception of you being comfortable and confident.
The solution to this is not to spend even more time on trying to memorize words, but it is to not focus all of your energy on one particular word. Instead, focus on one idea and use the first word that comes to you because that is often going to be the best word for the situation and it will rarely ever be ah or er or um.
Your Nerves Will Never Show Again in the Workplace
Let us look at the number one body language problem for most people in the workplace. The good news is that it is not because they are stupid people, sexist pigs, or rude. The number one source of bad body language in a workplace is being nervous and uncomfortable. What happens with people when they are nervous is that they become like little bunny rabbits: they freeze.
When we are nervous, we stiffen up and we stop doing what we were doing when we were comfortable and confident. Our hands and face freeze, our face goes blank, and we tense up. This gives other people an uncomfortable feeling in their gut about us which works against us. They will be much less likely to hire us, buy from us, collaborate with us, or work with us.
The good news for most of you is that it is not about learning a whole new set of skills or memorizing a set of a thousand dos and don’ts. It comes down to a few things that put you back in a state of being comfortable so that you can project comfort to the people who are around you. This is the solution to most of the problems but you also have to be wary of becoming too comfortable. If we solve this problem of tensing up when we are nervous, we can solve almost all of the other problems as well.
Quick Wins: You Will Look Your Best on FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Live
Your time in the workplace is extremely valuable. I am going to give you quick wins on how to come across comfortable and effective through your body language in a number of new and modern workplace environments.
For example, how do you come across when you have to speak on video? These days, you could have your boss calling you through Skype video or over an iPad, or through a webcam, and you have to talk to them looking at a screen. Here are some tips for such a situation: most of the time, one of the major problems people have when talking over Skype or any other form of video is that they place the camera too low. They either put it on a desk or they hold it at such an angle that the camera is shooting up their nose which is not exactly a flattering look.
Otherwise, it will be shooting up at the ceiling where the lights are located, making them the brightest thing on the screen and subsequently darkening their face- an unflattering angle that makes anyone look their worst. If you are using a laptop or a computer on your desk, just get a stack of books and prop the camera up a little higher. What you want is for the lens to be a couple of inches above your eyes. It gives a better angle to your face, it will make you look comfortable and confident, and it will make the lighting look nicer as well.
If you have ever been to a wedding, you will have noticed that at times, the photographer gets up on a ladder and shoots down. That is because when people are looking up, they look better- the double chin disappears and everything looks more flattering.