culture, schools, Uncategorized

UM is the commonest word

Australia’s worst and commonest word is – UM.

Listen on radio – most women are much worse UMers than men, and it gives the impression that they have greater inadequacy.

Please give all speakers instructions to mind their UMs, ers, you-know, like, sort of. Let them look at transcripts and replays of what they have said in the past, full of shoddy speech, and see how they can improve. It only needs a little thought.  I improved two women’s public speaking by showing them my record on a clipboard of how often they said UM in their talks. They became eminent politicians – once they never said UM again.     And one had scored 81 UMs in one talk before that!

Teachers who have poor class control or lose attention should look to their UMs.  They should learn not to UM in teacher-training, as a matter of urgency. Most children’s inattention is due to their teachers’ poor clarity and diction – shouting is no use compared with clear speech.

To be effective at stopping the UM habit you have to focus on something else – something positive that you can do, as an alternative to UM’ing. That alternative is chunking. Chunking is talking in short chunks of words with breaks in between the chunks. When you chunk you get into a rhythm: burst of words/break/burst of words/break….Focus on that rhythm and your UM’s will go.

Well, UM, yes, I do say UM too.  And it has been a handicap