If you’ve ever been to a Toastmasters meeting, you’re well aware of what that organization calls “verbal pauses.”
These are the things that speakers do when they fill in their speech with filler words like “um,” “uh,” “so,” “like,” and “you know.” Every time someone at a Toastmasters meeting says something like this, someone rings a bell. In theory, a feather in the speaker’s cap is eliminating all of these verbal pauses from their presence on stage.
But is this really going to make or break the speaker’s presence?
If you’re familiar with the name Amy Cuddy, it’s probably because you’ve seen her TED talk on body language and how it may shape who we are. And it wouldn’t surprise me if you have heard of her, because she has well over 40 million views of her talk.
In fact, as of this writing she’s closing in on Sir Ken Robinson who for years has had the most viewed talk of all time.
But in recently reviewing Amy’s talk about body language, I found myself noticing how often she used verbal pauses. If we count words like “so” and “you know” among these pauses, she has 14 of them in the first minute alone!
Not only that, but she goes through a whole slew of them right around the 1-minute mark, so it’s something like 17 or 18 at about 1:05.
And yet, she will soon be the most-viewed TED talk of all time.
What the popularity of Amy’s talk tells us is that, while a speaker might welcome greater prosperity by not having the verbal pauses and otherwise being very polished in their presence, there is something more important than that.
Over 40 million people have watched Amy’s talk not because she’s a super polished speaker but because they care about her message.
They care about how that message will impact them in their lives.
Take a look at her talk. Count the number of verbal pauses she gives.
And then decide if that’s the most important thing to think about when preparing a speech.
You can view it here: