Using Fillers

Recently, I have watch a great many speeches, some online and some in person. One thing that I have noticed in many of the speeches is the use of fillers. What do I mean by this? Fillers are words or sounds that we use to fill up space in our speaking. Fillers are very prevalent in teens. When one thinks of a typical teenager, one can automatically hear the words “like” and “you know” in their speaking. In casual conversation and with peers this is quite acceptable and normal. It is considered normal and acceptable in most conversation for adults as well; we understand that not everyone is quick to speak.

The situations that would warrant decreasing fillers is when one is speaking in public, whether in person or by video. My daughter is in a speech class and they receive points off for fillers. Recently, I went to see a music icon in concert. The aged performer was still able to put on a great show, but it was apparent that they weren’t as great a speaker as they once were. This person overused fillers; it seemed that they may have had some memory issues. It made me a little sad to see them that way. We are forgiving of people who may be dealing with other issues. However, when it comes to people who speak for a living, to win a title, or for success, we have a higher standard.That standard is fluid speech.

When a speaker has too many fillers, what does that say to you? How do you perceive the speaker? Sometimes that person is perceived as dishonest, whether they are or not. If someone has a hard time telling their story without overusing fillers, it may seem that they are making up the story. Another perception people may have of over using fillers is that the person does not know what they are talking about. The fillers may lead the listener to believe that this person does not have a clue, whether it is true or not.

Whatever fillers cause people to perceive about the speaker, they always break up the flow of speech and can cause distractions. Can you think of a speaker who has drawn you in? I can think of people who can tell a story and I am on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next word. People who make good use of rhythm and the flow of their speech can greatly capture their audience.

If you struggle with fillers, all is not lost! You are easily able to change your use of fillers. All is takes is incremental practice. You can do it! If you feel you need additional help, email me

Let’s talk soon! 🙂


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My Granny-End Alzheimers

These are memories of my grandmother, written as they flooded my mind. Please excuse any errors. 🙂

My Granny was one of the purest souls I have ever known. She was kind and patient. It was comfortable at my Granny’s because of her. She made sure we were cared for. When I was sick at school, I remember my Granny coming to get me and feeling better lying on her couch. My Granny helped me bake muffins for a Brownie badge. I remember playing board games with her, especially Aggravation. I remember watching game shows at her house like The Price is Right, Match Game, Hollywood Squares and Family Feud.

My cousins, sister and I would play for hours in her perfectly groomed yard, running around till we were hot and sweaty. Then we would go get homemade popsicles in the refrigerator in the storage room. Lunch would include tuna fish sandwiches with rotel queso and Fritos, some koolaid or sometimes we would get Fresca. The first time I ever watched To Kill a Mockingbird was in my Granny’s family room on a pallet on the floor (which was spotless). Her house always smelled so fresh and clean.

My Granny hosted us at Christmas and the grownups ate in the dining room, while we kids ate in the kitchen. She would have the desserts in the guest room; I’m not sure why, but I remember she did that. Then we opened presents. I was always so excited at Christmas. I remember going out into her driveway looking for Santa.

Granny rode her bike all the time. She loved to work in her yard. She mostly loved Jesus. She went to church faithfully. She was a great best friend, mother, sister and grandmother.

When I was about a young adult, my Granny was diagnosed with Alzheimers. We had noticed that she had forgotten how to do things that were ordinary. Her illness progressed, but she was able to see me get married. She was able to see 2 of my children and they were able to meet her and for that I am incredible grateful. My Granny never said an unkind word or anything negative during all the life changes that took place. She continued to sing hymns and have that sweet spirit she always had. Eventually she had to be placed in a nursing home, since she was so affected by the disease. She lost her ability to speak but could always sing a hymn. She lost her ability to walk and became bound to her body that was no longer working. I will never forget the day that she became ill with a fever. It was shortly after falling ill that she breathed her last breath. I know that she is with her Jesus now. I will never forget her.


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Body Language

In the e-course, Ace Your Interview, I touch on the importance of nonverbal language, also known as body language. Nonverbal language is what helps to create the first impression that we give to people. That takes only 17 seconds, but it is incredibly important! Body language is a most effective communicator. It can give off the impression of confidence, hostility, warmth, coldness, insecurity and competence.

We were at the gym this weekend and I people watched, which is so very interesting. I focused on one particular couple. She was pretty and thin. He was overweight. (No judgment, just observation for description purposes.). He would use a machine and she would follow behind and clean the machine after him. There was no verbal interaction between them, but there was a dance that was obviously familiar to them. I would say the expression on his face was related to his work out. The expression on the wife’s face was one of sad resolve, but attempting to put on a “happy face”. There was so much expressed in their nonverbal language; I concluded that she was unhappy and he was oblivious. Their dance made me sad for them. I know that was an outpouring of what was going on in the intimacy of their relationship.

I was once again at the gym, which is for me a great place to make observations.There area tv’s above the cardio equipment for people to watch. I listen to music, so I just watch the body language of the talk show hosts or whomever is on tv. This morning I watched a very popular talk show host, who has had some difficulties recently. I was really surprised by her body language. She was making herself very small and demure, which has never been her personality. She kept her hands folded in front of her and even crossed her arms at one point. When she laughed, her body language was open and more confident, but overall, it seems that her confidence has been shaken.

Now, I am at a coffee shop and am surrounded by body language examples. Some are making me nervous, due to their body language that seems to be intrusive and anxious. The shaking of the legs and self-soothing behaviors of people whom present as if they are struggling with anxiety create an environment of anxiety around them.

All this to say that body language SPEAKS VOLUMES! The good news is that you are in control of your body language. You can find tips on this in our e-course, Ace Your Interview! Go get it today!

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We have been busy celebrating accomplishments and making memories around here. My middle daughter, Beth, graduated from high school and 2 of our nieces graduated from college. Beth’s graduation was a beautiful ceremony that included a video of her growing up set to David Bowie’s “Changes”. My husband and I recorded a charge, which is where we affirmed her gifts and encouraged her to follow her dreams. We had a pink themed tea in her honor at our home, which confused some of the men invited…they didn’t think they were invited because it was a pink tea. They didn’t have to drink tea at all. 😉 It was a wonderful afternoon full of love. We are very grateful for all the people who have loved, encouraged, and directed Beth in her schooling years. I can’t wait to see what her future holds!2016-05-07 10.08.50-1

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Chris Kyle Birthday Bash

We were invited by our friend Amy Fish to attend the first annual Chris Kyle Birthday Bash, celebrating the 42nd birthday of the American Sniper. We had seen the movie, but didn’t know what to expect for the evening. It was held at Gilley’s in Dallas and  began with a barbecue buffet with pecan pie and oatmeal cream pies for dessert….of course, we are in Texas! The National Anthem was a moving rendition by Jason Ashley. The amazing then program followed. The first video shown was one that Steven Spielberg had helped to create. It showed Chris at work and then it showed Chris with his family, sweet moments like teaching his daughter to read. Touching, poignant moments that tugged at my heart. Taya Kyle spoke of her husband, his impact,and their love. She talked about free will and with the freedom do good, people have the freedom do evil. But her belief that God will bring beauty from the ashes and she has seen that. She has experienced enormous support and many blessings, but would give that up in order to have her husband back. Close friends spoke of his loyalty, humility and sense of humor. One of my favorites was his best friend from middle and high school, Bryan Rury. He wrapped up his talk with Romans 12:9-15, which he saw as how Chris Kyle lived his life.

Romans 12:9-15New International Version (NIV)

Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Lastly, Craig Morgan played some great country music. It was a wonderful night!

The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is working to help military and first responders strengthen their marriages and families. They are doing amazing work with date nights and retreats. For more information, please check out their site

We were honored to be a part of the night and very grateful for those who fight for our freedom.


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We got the new Vogue magazine in the mail. I don’t ordinarily look through it, but decided to yesterday. Apparently, fashion today consists of hangry people. I say this because I only counted 15 pictures of people smiling and all the people are emaciated. It was quite eye opening and sad for women of the younger generation. Life can be joyful and eating is a good thing…Vogue does not depict that. On a positive note, there were some yummy fragrances and Chanel has a tagline of “Eyes Speak Volumes”. Maybe we can team up! #speakvolumes

Thanks for reading! Take care! Until next time…..


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Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's ChocolateSometimes it seems like a day is straight out of Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Yesterday, was a day like that. My daughter and I were taking a little road trip. What started out to be a short little trip turned out to be hours of sitting in traffic, line, or things just not working out. First of all, we were stuck on the bridge across the lake for about an hour. We took a detour once we were able to exit and went on our way. Then, we decided to stop to eat in the Bishop Arts District at 11am. There were no parking spaces anywhere and the restaurant we chose was overflowing. So we chose to eat at Hattie’s, which proved once again to be one of my favorite restaurants around. It was calm, had great service, and the food was delicious. That pepped us up and we headed south. We stopped in Waco at the flurry of fandemonium, world famous Magnolia (HGTV’s hosts of Fixer Upper’s store). We saw women running across the street to get a selfie with the Magnolia logo, dragging their light fixtures, home decor and children in tow. It was quite a sight! By then we needed a good cup of coffee, and we like shops the are unique to the area, so we thought we’d stop by the cute one by campus. Once again….no parking! So, we parked in the spot reserved for another business, because we were just going to be a second. No, we weren’t…the line was out the door! Who knew this town was so crowded! We left Waco and again headed south to be in bumper to bumper traffic that Waze showed to be the rest of our trip. I then gave up. Our little trip that should have taken a few hours had already been 5 and looked to be about 5 more. I made an executive decision to abort the mission. We headed back to Dallas and stopped a few places to shop. Then, we went to Trader Joe’s to get a few groceries. The checker asked us how our day was and we told her. Her reply was, “You deserve some chocolate for the day you’ve had”. She brought a handful of choices, and we each chose one. The kindness she displayed is one of the reasons I love Trader Joe’s. It lifted our spirits and put a smile on our faces. We hit traffic again, but with a lighter perspective. Some days are just like that. Tomorrow is a new day!

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For Good

Some people choose to do the right thing because it is right. They aren’t concerned with reward or gratitude of the recipient. Charles Chaffin was one of those people. He chose to take in the orphaned boys of his wife’s brother and give them a home. I can only imagine what chaos was created in that decision, but he chose it and was faithful in providing a safe environment. He ran the race with endurance and crossed the finish line yesterday, a life well lived. My tribe of five is eternally grateful for his contribution to those boys. I happen to be married to one of them. Our lives have been changed for good because of his generosity and choosing to do what was right.

We love you and are grateful beyond words for what you have done for our family, Uncle Charles. May you rest in peace.

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The Upcycled Garden

This has been a mild winter in Texas to say the least. Well, mild by the snow standard, but quite destructive by the tornado standard. Our temperatures have been wonderful these past few weeks and spring seems to have sprung all around us. The warmer weather brings about the notion to start some gardening. We live out on some land, but the city is closing in on us and there is construction within eyesight. That made me want something for my porch to create privacy, grow some herbs or vegetables, and that could be moved (because we are sunset watchers and didn’t want that to be impeded). I thought of a design and the dimensions, then asked my friend Ron Vice if he could build it. And by golly, could he!! He made me the most gorgeous planter out of up cycled wood. I could not be happier with it!

Below are photos of the planter and signs of spring. Happy Monday, friends!
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TAFE-Texas Association of Fairs and Events

This weekend TAFE held its annual convention at the Hill Country Hyatt, San Antonio. Speak Volumes, Inc’s client, Erin Kinsey ( was chosen to showcase at the event. Kylie and Kelly worked for weeks to get Erin’s booth just right. Their efforts were rewarded in being given “Best Trade Show Booth 2016”! Way to go ladies! #SVIproud2016-01-09 15.53.10

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