Hi Guys,

I am a Manager with a telecom operator. Here is my problem:

When I am speaking in front of a large group, I often do lot of "Aa".
I always get impressed with some of the great speakers and how the thoughts seem to come to them so clearly and how nicely they articulate those ideas. How to put the thoughts together , how to speak flawlessly without fear. I want to sound confident like a CEO. PLEASE HELP or provide some resource. Thanks

akinsgre's picture


Planning and practicing the speech was the most effective way to improve my presentation ability.

Toastmasters did a great job of helping to coach those skills.

jhack's picture


One other thing: believe it or not, saying nothing, leaving silence, is better than "aaa..." Ask your colleagues to point out when you say it (to make you more aware). And when you catch yourself, just say nothing.


HMac's picture

Know whast you're going to say
Practice what you're going to say
Say what you're going to say

I think the "ahh" and "umm" tends to crop up the most I'm veering off topic - and when I know I'm veering off topic, but doing it anyway! Not to say that everything needs to be scripted word-for-word, but the verbal tics tend to appear when I'm just makin' stuff up...

Tape your practices, and tape your actual presentations (audio). Listen for the ahhs and umms - chances are they will tend to group in certain areas, like when you're starting the talk, or when you're preparing a response to a question - and your mouth is moving while your brain is still processing. Then, focus on better preparation for those particular junctures, and the problem will be 99% eliminated.

Then don't beat yourself up about what's left.


AManagerTool's picture

Just read "The Exceptional Presenter" by Tim Koegel. Excellent resource for someone learning how to present or for a veteran. Good practical step by step descriptions of what to do and what not to do. I probably should review it formally.

ctomasi's picture

I saw [url=] Own the Forest, Delegate the Trees[/url] on my boss' desk this past week. He hasn't had a chance to read it yet. Has anyone else taken a look and have comments they are willing to share?

jclishe's picture

I agree with what others have said. Knowing your material is the best remedy, IMO.

I think it's more than about knowing what you're going to say, but rather, truly knowing what you're talking about. If you script out what you're going to say and you read it over and over and over again in an attempt to memorize it, you'll get flustered during the actual presentation if you "forget your lines" because you'll be worrying more about what you had scripted for yourself (what am I supposed to say next?), instead of worrying about the point that you want to convey. It may be subtle but there's a definitely a difference.

You should be able to look at a slide with a handful of bullets and immediately know what you want to say. Not because you've memorized and practiced your lines, but rather because you know the material, you know the audience, and you know what they need to know.

Think about this: For most of us here, if we were standing in front of a large audience and saw a slide for the first time with 3 bullets that read simply "One on one's", "Feedback", and "Coaching", we could probably talk for HOURS without a single "Ahh" or "umm" based on those 3 simple bullets. Why? Because we know the material cold. That's how you need to be with every one of your slides.


stephenbooth_uk's picture

How noticeable are these aaas? Has anyone else commented on them or is it something that you have identified? If it's the latter have you tried getting a friend to sit in and watch out for such stumbles.

I attended a presentation skills training course a few weeks ago, as part of the course I had to do 5 presentations over 2days. When I was presenting I felt like pretty much every second word out of my mouth was err, aah or umm. No-one else commented on that in the feedback until I raised it. Then they said that they hadn't noticed.

It may be worth getting some training or joining an organisation like Toastmasters. To be effective you need to concentrate on the things that are actual issues, which may not the things that are most obvious to you. According to the trainer on the course I attended my main problem was vocal projection, not verbal stumbles.