Avoiding “Ums” and “Uhs”

Let’s say you spent all night preparing for this morning’s presentation.

You practice what you want to say over and over again in your head on the way to the office.

You walk into the meeting well prepared and gather what you need to present.

Everything is ready, you stand up to speak, You open your mouth….and everything you practiced goes out the window.

You feel tension in your chest as you inhale, your tongue gets caught as you search for the words that you had no trouble rattling off in front of the bathroom mirror this morning, and you can’t stop thinking about how poorly you’re doing and how bad you must look.

You know what you’re talking about, but you can’t get the self critical voice out of your head that won’t allow you to communicate what you know.

You’re not the only one, I hear the same basic story from clients all the time.

Often there is a disconnect between our breathing patterns and our thought process.

The Connection between our breath and our thoughts affects the way we  punctuate our speech, how we support an intention, and will either encourage or discourage filler sounds like “uh,” and “um.”

This Breath-Thought Connection is the cornerstone of all face-to-face communication.

When it’s strong it empowers a performance, and when it’s dysfunctional it can sabotage your content delivery.

If we aren’t deliberate in our breathing, especially in public speaking, it’s easy to get scrambled, hung up, and find ourselves unsupported.

Here’s the important idea: One Breath is connected to One Thought.

In this episode of the podcast, I’ll demonstrate a simple method to approach the delivery of both written text and improvised speech without having to fall back on filler sounds like “um” and “uh.”

We’ll go over how to strategize around your verbal delivery by using two breathing tools: The Foundation Breath, and the Building Breath, and how to govern our improvisations by forming and employing a content-governing Directive Thought.

After you’ve listened to the lecture you’ll find some short videos below.

I’ve borrowed two episodes from our series The Human Communication Archive to give you a clear visual.

This should leave you with a road map for how the concept of “One Breath, One Thought” plays out in performance.

All my best,


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