Category Archives: Oral Communication

How to Stop Using Filler Words Like “Um” and “Uh” in Your Speech

"Americans are notorious for using filler words. While moderate use in a casual environment could be helpful it is advised to avoid excessive use, especially in a professional setting. If you're using too many filler words, it is time to stop the habit."

How to Lose an Accent, According to a Dialect Coach

According to voice coach Amy Jo Jackson, "When working with a client who is interested in accent reduction, we’ll begin with a diagnostic session, where I’ll have them read a passage of text so I can hear where they are and what their mouth is doing. We’ll then start working through some short phrases involving […]

Four Times You Shouldn’t Apologize (Including When It’s Your Fault)

According to Judith Humphrey (photo, left), “The risk in saying “sorry” too much is that apologies carry baggage that can undermine others’ confidence in you. It’s often the verbal equivalent of a hangdog face, downcast eyes, or slouching shoulders. Why put yourself down? Here are four times you can take responsibility–and take action–without having to […]

7 Phrases That Scream Lack of Confidence (and Make You Look Weak)

"If you want others to believe in you, you must believe in your own value and act in a way that conveys confidence. The words you choose will help you to exude confidence–or make you look weak. Never underestimate the power of words," says Marla Tabaka (photo, left) in an article at "Here are […]

A World Champion Speaker Reveals the Best Way to End a Presentation

"If you don't consider yourself a world-class public speaker, you probably run into some trouble figuring out how to end your presentation, whether it's a PowerPoint in front of your colleagues or a toast at your friend's wedding," writes Richard Felloni (photo, left) in a piece at "Thankfully, Business Insider had a chance to talk […]

Can’t Quit Saying ‘Um’ and ‘Ah’? Just Learn How to Use Them Better

"Filler words—like, you know, I mean, uh, um—are an inescapable part of our everyday lives. President Barack Obama, a typically eloquent speaker, uses them; they’re littered throughout Kim Kardashian’s speech; and according to experts, you probably use them every five seconds when you’re speaking spontaneously," writes Susmita Baral (photo, left) at See the solution . […]

5 Rules for Writing a Winning Speech

David Meadvin (photo, left), founder of the speechwriting firm Inkwell Strategies, is often asked "about how to write a winning speech." "There are a lot of different ways to answer that question, but after crafting remarks for leaders in government, nonprofits and the private sector, I’ve learned that there are essentially five rules that all […]

One Minute Listening Tip: Interrupting

One of the most annoying listening behaviors is interrupting.  People interrupt because they listen to respond.  They’re simply rehearsing their answers and waiting until they have their say.  Frequently, they interrupt because they’re really more concerned with being understood than being understanding.  This is not listening.  True listening is suspending the ego and focusing on […]