How do I stop myself from saying "um" before I speak?

I know it's a bad habit, but I just can't help it whenever I'm speaking! Especially in any presentation or public speaking. It just feels so natural.

Asked by WilliamRutgers University-New Brunswick

3 Answers


The first step is acknowledging it, which it seems like you have. In the beginning, just force yourself to call it out every time you do it. That's all! Just keep a counter going of how much you say it. Or even acknowledge it out loud, like "oh there's another time I said uhm".

From there, you can try to replace it with a pause, then try to get rid of it altogether!

Answered by MitchellUniversity of Maryland-College Park


Uhhhhhmmmm...haha just kidding. This is so hard for a lot of people and it definitely takes practice. When you're in a train of thought, instead of saying um, take a deep breath and pause. See if that works.

Answered by EllenUniversity of Michigan-Ann Arbor


I use to also do this a lot! Especially during presentations, I found myself saying "um" and looking down. What helped me was studying my points and making sure I had them down! Taking a deep breath, smiling, and putting confident thoughts in my head assisted in ridding that habit. Hope this helps you!

Answered by AndreaTexas State University-San Marcos