In my last post, I talked a lot about how your delivery is a huge difference maker when talking to a prospect. As sales people, one of the most important aspects of our delivery is clean speech. Clean speech is free of filler words such as “um”, “ah”, “like”, “you know”, “right”, and a few others.

Take a minute to think back through your professional life, or even when you were in school., and I’m sure there is at least one person comes to mind that used “um” or “like” way too much. They could be the most intelligent person in the world, but the use of “um”, or “like”, (or any other filler word) would prevent you from focusing on what they were talking about.

As sales professionals, it is imperative that we sound confident and competent on the phone. These are the keys to holding a conversation on a cold call with a prospect, and clean speech is one of the most important factors in your delivery.

Clean Speech expresses competence.

When you speak to anyone, either on the phone or in person, your speech being free of filler words can be the difference maker in showing someone how competent you are. You want to show your prospect that you are knowledgeable and confident in what you are talking about. Filler words can completely derail the conversation when the prospect hears an “um” or “like” every other word.

Anywhere, Anytime

One important aspect about clean speech that a lot of people don’t realize is that it can be practiced anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re on an important conference call with a client, in a meeting with your colleagues, or hanging out with your friends and family, clean speech should always be a recurring theme while you speak until it becomes a habit.

If the words aren’t there, don’t speak!

One tactic that I’ve used to combat the use of filler words is pauses in between sentences or thoughts. This allows you time to think and correctly convey your ideas and thoughts to your prospect. A lot of the time, BDRs use filler words because they are speaking too quickly and they don’t leave themselves enough time to think about what they’re going to say next.  Pausing in between sentences can help slow down your delivery and give you enough time to think about what you’re going to say next to your prospect.

Take a proactive approach to cleaning up your speech

A lot of the time, salespeople aren’t even aware of their mistakes in their speech; when using filler words becomes a habit it is easy to become desensitized to hearing yourself using them. A great way to assess your speech in a number of different ways is the use of speech apps. One speech app that we use for both experienced and new reps is called Orai. Orai is available both on iPhone and Android and helps assess pace, filler words, vocal clarity, and energy level during a call. Orai is a great way to get feedback and help change these bad habits.

Recording yourself is really easy- simply press ‘Record’ and start talking! As you can see, I used about 5 filler words in this session and my pace was on the faster side. Orai gave me some meaningful feedback as well regarding how to improve my pace- by adding some pauses in between sentences.

During my second go around, even though I didn’t have any filler words here and my speech clarity was great, the app shows that I can slow down a little and and be a little more energetic as I speak.

Every salesperson should practice clean speech whether they are at work or at home and prevent filler words from creeping into their vocabulary. As salespeople, we need to, uh, portray ourselves as, like, confident and, you know, credible to our prospects. Cleaning up your speech is the key to maintaining this image!