Cut Out Conversational Placeholders for Better Persuasion

Cut Out Conversational Placeholders for Better Persuasion

ImageSome of us, uh, speak with a lot of, you know, hesitating phrases that are usually, well, unintentional, or a result of being, like, nervous. If that sounds like you, New Scientist magazine has some solid evidence that you need to work on getting them out of your system:

Researchers asked 118 undergraduates to read a transcript of a testimonial about a scanner. In one version, the speaker used hesitations like “I mean” and “ummm”; in the other, he used none … When hesitant language was used, people were less easily convinced that this was a scanner worth buying – even when it was a better scanner at a lower price. Style was especially important, the researchers found, when time was limited.

Might make you think about how you’ll approach your boss next time you need a favour, or a raise. Hit the link for seven more tips on being persuasive, check out our advice on losing the “um”s and “ah”s, and share your own best path to hesitation-free speaking in the comments. Photo by journeyscoffee.


  • I have a friend who links all his sentences with, ‘and, uh…” It is maddening to listen to, because instead of listening to what he is saying, you end up dreading the next, ‘and, uh…” Why do people do that? What is the cause? Also, when they are on a roll, you can not interject any of your own thoughts….and, uh…it is very irritating, does not encourage a free flow of conversation, and you want to distance yourself from the person.

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