Um, er… Clear speaking and being, er, understood

One of the things I learnt from a KM conference a while back was that it really doesn’t matter how you say a message that you want to communicate, what is most important is how that message is being received.

And so I was most interested in a newspaper article that my mother recently provided me.  The article found that disfluencies in utterances (like um, er, ah) force a listener to pay more attention.  It’s because it interrupts what is expected and so forces the listener to pay more attention to the interesting words. 

What would be interesting is whether the study is based on a short amount of speech rather than a long speech.  I find that people who have these ums and ahs in their speech to be a bit of a turnoff – particularly at conferences.  A little bit now and then is OK which causes you to pay more attention as it seems then that the person is striving for the right word.

So that would mean, um, that I reckon, er, that I speak, well sort of, alright like, if you know what I mean.

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