Last week, in the spirit of always getting better, I asked Twitter how to practice saying "um" less while speaking. Here's what I learned.

Most people suggested to practice intentionally inserting pauses instead of saying "um". Various strategies include voice acting classes, having a friend aid with a buzzer (presumably to help you notice), and to record practice sessions as well as the real deal.

Nagle suggested that meditation helped him, which makes sense to me as I've experienced meditation helping me be more mindful in many different areas of my life, including mundane things like noticing that I've touched something that's probably not that clean and remembering not to touch my face until I wash them. Wilfully directing mindfulness toward noticing how I speak is something I'm really stoked about, though it's easy to get swept away in a default "performance mode" in front of a crowd.

Hendrick pointed out that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the principle behind changing speech behaviour and is a great starting point for more research.

This is going to be really useful next time I'm practicing for a talk! Thanks @zmagg, @hendricklee, @bcrypt, @ebroder, @mscain, and @nagle5000 for playing. :)

(original Twitter thread)