Public speaking represents a common fear among my clients (and, let’s face it, the general population). As a coach, I prepare my clients for their big pitches and presentations by talking about their presentation structure and how to best engage an audience. Still, they can inadvertently undo all their great preparation with just a few small, seemingly insignificant words: filler words.


While we can all easily identify “um,” “ah,” and “like” as decidedly unprofessional and irritating to listen to, in this article for, Carmine Gallo discusses the perils of one specific filler: “you know.” While it may seem like a harmless phrase to rest your nerves while you’re trying to connect during an important speech, according to Gallo, the problem is that the filler phrase “you know” really makes you sound like you DON’T KNOW much. I agree with Gallo, and I’ll add that the credibility issue doesn’t just matter when you’re presenting—”you know” has the same negative effect in garden variety workplace conversations as well.


Read Gallo’s article for his explanation of the “you know” effect, and get his tips for eliminating that and other pesky fillers from your presentations and conversations.



Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high-achieving individuals and teams communicate with intention to get the business results they want. If you’re interested in working with Guillermo, sign up for a free meeting to explore how he can help.