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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About the author: kellya