I owe this post to Laura Hale Brockway, a Texas-based writer and blogger.

Ms. Brockway is funny, smart, and wise. And she fesses up using many of these terms herself (which we all do.) Here they are:

1. Um
2. Uh-huh
3. Right
4. Cool
5. OK
6. Yeah
7. Like
8. Really
9. That’s interesting
10. Hmmm
11. All right
12. Good answer
13. I’ve heard of that
14. Is that so
15. You know
16. I know
17. I hear you
18. Surely not
19. You don’t say
20. Seriously
21. Basically
22. Got it

These are not all on my list, but many of them are.  I would also add three more:

  1.  At the end of the day
  2. Bottom line
  3. Core competency

Now, I realize these are more clichés than filler words, but I had to get them in, because I find them annoying as all hell. Maybe even as annoying as “groovy,” which I’ve been using too much of late.

Just Stop

So how do you stop using filler terms?

According to Ms. Brockway, you can organize your thoughts before you speak. Easier said than done if you work in a “stand and deliver” environment. You can say the filler term in your head. Or you can “learn the value of conversational silences.” That is her favorite tip and mine too. Most of us probably need to learn to talk less and listen more.

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