Verbal Fillers Are Basically Contagious

As I watched and listened to a marketing person give a short impromptu presentation, I quickly identified the word she would use that would repeatedly allow her time to think, eliminate any wordless pauses, and make her sound like a bottom-line executive. Her word of choice: “basically.”

After she said the word four times in the first three sentences, I did what people think I do all the time (and usually don’t): I started keeping track.

After the woman spoke for five minutes and used “basically” seventeen more times, a man asked, “So you’re saying, basically, that….”

Her answer: “That, basically, is correct.”

We absorb the vocabulary and affectations of others. That’s why so many people are inserting “I mean” into their sentences–and they are not aware they are doing it!

What I witnessed during this woman’s short presentation was unintentional brainwashing at its best.

To combat this, we need to expunge the unnecessary and distracting filler words from our sentences and be vigilant that we don’t make space in our sentences for other people’s verbal clutter.

What filler words or phrases do you guard yourself against?