Many of us middle-aged souls spent a good chunk of time honing our public speaking or simple presentation skills at a Toastmasters meeting, usually over breakfast or lunch.
Toastmasters is an organization designed to help individuals improve their speaking skills. One of the things I remember most vividly learning was the need to eliminate fillers in our speaking, sounds such as “Um, uh, you know, like” and so on. I specifically remember this because, one it is important but second our club had a fine for every filler used of 5 cents and someone was always the “uh” counter and at the end of the meeting would report out on the count and collect the fines.
In listening to Hillary Clinton doing some recent ad-hoc, impromptu interviews and question sessions it is clear she did NOT attend Toastmasters. She would go broke at our club with all of the fines from the speech fillers she uses.
We learned that fillers are a device used by us to allow us time to think of our response, behind every filler is a forced pause to our allow our brains to formulate supposedly coherent words. We also learned that the best filler is silence, it is ok to pause quietly while thinking, it is much less distracting to the listener.
Maybe Hillary has so many fillers because she has to think really hard about her answers, I would hope that by now she has been asked everything at least once and her answers would come more naturally. Maybe she could hire someone from Toastmasters to travel along with her and help her in this regard.
Anyway, if you need help to improve your ability to speak effectively then you might check out Toastmasters, I am sure there is probably a local chapter near you.
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