How to stop verbal tics (video)

How to stop verbal tics (video)

Viewing time: 5 minutes

The Write Question is a weekly video podcast about writing that I began in 2017 and that ran, kind of weekly, till April 2022. This is a republication of difficulty #57, with recommendation on how to stop verbal tics. The submit first ran on May 25/18.


Welcome to The Write Question, I’m Daphne Gray-Grant. Today I’m giving recommendation on how to take away verbal tics.

I’ve a query from Mike Hernandez who relies in San Diego, California. Here’s what he requested through e-mail:

 “I know a person who ends almost every sentence with an “uh huh” or “mm mm.” I hought it is perhaps due to a really emotional, traumatic occasion he went by when he was in his early 20’s, in regards to the time it began. In addition to being very conscious of it and training not making the sounds, do you have got every other recommendation to assist stop it?”

Thanks for the query, Mike. In addition to being knowledgeable author and editor, I’m additionally a debate coach at my native highschool, and THAT’S the information I’m going to be calling on to reply your query.

I’ve labored with dozens of scholars during the last 10 years and I don’t assume it issues how verbal tics come up. You is perhaps proper that in your good friend’s case they stemmed from an emotional trauma however I’ve additionally seen individuals who umm and ah to beat the band, with no precipitating occasion. More typically, I feel, it’s only a unhealthy behavior. And like all habits, it takes some diligence to eliminate it.

The very first thing any speaker wants to do is to be conscious of downside. Does your good friend understand that he’s falling again on verbal tics? And that they’re annoying his listeners? If not, step one is to generate consciousness. One of the very best methods to accomplish that is to persuade him to document himself so he can hear how horrible he sounds. Note that I don’t counsel this to embarrass him however to make him conscious. Make the suggestion kindly and with nice tact.

You may additionally level out that there are numerous profitable individuals who make precisely the identical mistake. My favorite instance is the present Prime Minister of Canada. In the outline beneath I present a hyperlink to a YouTube video through which Justin Trudeau makes use of umm 50 occasions in simply over one minute! (This might make your good friend really feel higher!)

Be conscious that some individuals even have visible tics. They might sway after they converse. They might flip their hair. They might jingle cash of their pockets. If you have got a good friend with a lot of these habits, you may want to counsel video-taping quite than only a voice recording. I judged a debate competitors final weekend and I noticed a younger lady twisting an elastic on her hand whereas she was talking. It was extremely distracting however I’m positive she didn’t even understand she was doing it.

After you’ve recognized the issue with the individual, then you may cope with it. Be conscious that this can be a long-term undertaking. I had a giant downside with my very own talking type — I used to say umm and ahh lots — and I’ve been working diligently to take away these tics from my vocabulary for 2 years now. I’m MUCH higher than I used to be however nonetheless not excellent.

Do I get discouraged that it’s taken me two years to date? No! I do know I’m so significantly better than I used to be. I want the method had been sooner but it surely isn’t and I’m simply persevering with to work at it.

If your good friend is absolutely involved about his umm/ahh downside, he may need to take into account becoming a member of a company like Toastmasters. They are actually good at serving to audio system fight such points. One of the methods they use is that they have somebody within the viewers who claps or makes a noise each time a speaker makes use of umm or ahh. Believe me, this method may be very efficient. I’ve included a hyperlink to the Toastmaster’s web site beneath.

But, in all probability the largest secret I can provide your good friend is to SLOW DOWN his talking type. Western Society dislikes silence. I feel we worry that it makes us look silly or inarticulate. But in case your good friend can enhance his consolation with silence, then he can use that point to THINK about what he desires to say prematurely of truly saying it.

Generally, we are saying “umm” or “uhh” to give ourselves time to assume. Instead of doing that use silence [….3-second pause…] to completely craft your sentence earlier than it comes out of your mouth.

Silence shouldn’t be solely okay — it’s an ideal gadget for emphasis and for getting consideration. And it’s actually far superior to umm or ahh.

Finally, let me wrap up with a quote from historical Chinese thinker Lao Tzu: “Silence is a source of great strength.

Thanks in your query, Mike. If your good friend can grow to be extra snug with silence, I’m positive he’ll achieve success at coping with his verbal tics.


Justin Trudeau


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How to stop verbal tics (video)

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