Um…, Uh…, So…, Like…
I’m preparing for presentation in October to an audience of ~100 peeps. As I’ve listened to a couple of practice recordings, it’s become painfully obvious that my speech is littered with these pesky little word whiskers. To address this isssue, I took a super helpful workshop, “Speak Without Filler Words,” which helped me understand WHY these words creep into our speech and how to break the habit of using them.
Filler words show up in our dialogue when we are trying to gather our thoughts. When we aren’t exactly sure what to say next, “Uh..” pops right out before we know it. As we’re transitioning to the next thought, “So…” slips right in there. Pretty soon your conversation sounds like one, massive run-on sentence that requires a lot of energy for the listener to digest.
What’s the answer? (FYI – I almost wrote, “So, what’s the answer.” Oy vey! So much work to do!!).
The answer is….wait for it…..PAUSE!!
When you don’t know what to say, PAUSE.
When you get to a point in a sentence where you would typically add a comma or a dash, PAUSE.
When you get to the end of a sentence, STOP (long pause).
This is called “verbal punctuation.” It adds clarity and structure to your spoken words. It provides the listener with a chance to digest and integrate what you have said. It makes you sound more professional and competent.
Pauses are necessary.
I had a revelation this morning. Pauses are not only necessary to provide clarity in our spoken word. They are necessary for clarity in our lived LIFE.
In my last letter, I mentioned the sense of “joyless urgency” that pervades life today. What this looks like for me, is hopping from task to task, doing multiple tasks at once, telling myself that I will “stop and smell the roses” when I have time, or AFTER I get such and such done. I will take the time to reflect and look at what’s going on under my surface at some undefined point in the future when 1) I have more time and 2) I am somehow more magically adept at doing hard things like looking at what’s going on under the surface.
I realized this morning that I often live life like one massive run-on sentence – filling in the transition spaces between tasks with “filler words” like checking email/doing dishes/tidying up, so that I never have to sit in silence with myself. And then I am always wondering why I lack clarity and focus!??!
Life needs pauses for clarify, structure, and integration. Life needs Life Punctuation!
This sentiment is floating in the ether of consciousness right now. In the most recent issue of Massage & Bodywork Magazine, Cal Cates wrote an article entitled, “Rest and Relaxation Are Necessities, Not Luxuries.” She notes that 65% of adults are reporting stress due to uncertainty, and 60% feel overwhelmed by the volume of problems we face. WE NEED TO PAUSE! She advises therapists, “The most profound value in what we do is providing an experience that invites the people we touch to rest, to say, “It’s OK to be right here with this person taking care of me for the sake of kindness and relaxation.”
The amazing book, “Four Thousand Weeks – Time Management for Mortals” keeps reminding me that we cannot force our will on the universe. Things take as long as they take, and the more we resist that truth, the more pain we bring on ourselves. Also, To Do lists are never-ending, as are problems that need to be addressed. That is the reality of life. We need to accept that reality and take care of ourselves by pausing, noticing the things that we enjoy, and being present for them NOW (not when we magically have more time to enjoy them).
How does one go about adding more commas, dashes, and periods to life? In the Filler Words class, you record yourself talking for 1 minute, then you transcribe what you said and highlight all the filler words. Building awareness is always the first step towards change. Just bringing curious, non-judgmental attention to the conversation of your life could help you realize where you need to insert some Life Punctuation. CranioSacral Therapy can also provide you with an hour where your mind, body, and spirit can rest deeply. If you need a period in the run-on sentence of your life, you can book a session with me here.
Next week I am taking a deliberate pause. I’m doing a “mini-quest” where I’ll go hike somewhere and sit, think, write, and see what comes up. I got the idea from the brilliant teacher, Ariel Kiley, and the time is right to actually DO it!
I hope you can find time for a comma or maybe even a full-on period today. 🙂
Space to be Human Updates
Visceral Manipulation: I am still digesting (get it??) what I learned in the Barral Visceral Manipulation class. Visceral Manipulation is gentle work on the organs of the body that can have profound effects on pain and range-of-motion. When your organs are not moving well, your body is not moving well. If you’re an existing client, and you’re curious about this work, shoot me an email to hear more about an opportunity for a free treatment.
If you would like to sign up to get these posts sent to you directly, please click here.
Um…, Uh…, So…, Like…