Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 80s, but it feels like that decade and its Valley Girl culture spawned the “like” phenomenon. Ya know?
Now it seems to be “I mean,” “actually” and “basically” that give English teachers fits. Another decade, another set of filler words to steer clear of!
For those looking to improve their communication skills, whether for public speaking, talking to supervisors or peers, I love this nifty little app, Like So (version 1.1, $0.99) because it feels like more of a game than work. Check it out.First choose whether you want to “FreeStyle” which gives you the opportunity to talk about any topic you want for 1, 2, 5 or 30 minutes, or whether you’d like to be prompted with topics from a category of your choosing (time limits are 30 or 60 seconds). Next, select the words you are trying to remove from your speech: actually, ya know, whatever, like, totally, ok, I mean, just, literally, sorry, so, basically, anyway, right or have it track them all!
Now, let’s put you under pressure! Hit start and talk about the prompt or your choice. There’s a countdown clock and you do have the option to pass on a topic you might not know. It gives you 3 seconds to formulate what you’ll say before the clock starts and while it will cut you off at the time limit there is no penalty for not finishing your thought. After five prompts, you receive an analysis of your “on your feet” speech which includes the number of words you used, the pace you spoke at (words/minute) and the number of filler words you used. You can take a closer look at the analysis which will show you exactly which fillers and how many times they were used and then you have the option to save any session results.
I think this is a great tool to suggest for high school or college aged students getting ready for interviews and a super way to improve your own sales pitch or explanation of a disorder or recommendations before speaking to administration or parents. I have a number of older elementary students that I might try this with when we practice oral book reports. I think seeing the app tell them “slow down!” will have much more impact than I often do!
The filler I need to banish is “just.” It cheapens the message and I’ve noticed when I make a conscious effort to remove it, I feel like I’ve taken a stand and been more forceful (not overbearing, forceful. And I had to stop myself from adding a “just” before forceful. I’m a work in progress!)
Which filler are you most likely to overuse? Is this app something you’d try for yourself or in therapy? Comment below!