Yesterday I referred to Jay Adams’ suggestion that we can improve our language use best by working on it in everyday life so that it becomes natural. He mentions another aspect of speech that many need to work on. The unnecessary use of, you know, like, filler words. These verbal pauses do a lot to distract listeners and lessen the impact of otherwise pointed and focused speech.
The problem with filler words or verbal pauses is that they only seem to get worse when we focus on them in a time of tension. So simply telling yourself not to say that thing you always say so often is not going to fix it when you’re preaching. In fact, it will probably exacerbate the problem. So Jay Adams suggests working on this at home, with the help of your wife. Have a family member help by making it clear whenever the filler is used. Gradually the added complexity of conversation will motivate you to drop the filler. “Know? I don’t know, could you explain it to me please?” That will really stack up in some of our, you know, conversations. “Like? What was he like, to what would you compare him?” That will complicate a relatively simple interchange!
If you can figure it out, a signal system that is only known to you and your spouse could be used in public settings too. However, Adams suggests this approach be kept to the private sphere if there isn’t total agreement on how to proceed in public!
Eliminating verbal pauses will achieve massive benefits for preaching. But perhaps the time to work on the habit is in the normal situations of life, rather than the pressure cooker situation of preaching. At th end of the day, you know, what have you found helpful in eliminating verbal pauses or distracting cliches?
2 thoughts on “Improving Speech While Not Preparing – 2”
Great counsel. And great blog!
Thought this video was relevant:
I was referred to a Mark Dever introduction recently that used this speech. I presume that this guy wasn’t taking it from Mark Dever. I don’t remember, but I’m sure Mark Dever gave credit for it. This is well worth watching!