Cigar Lifestyle

Tips for Better Speaking to an Audience

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So, I’m driving to work one day, and I’m listening to talk-radio. The host (who has been on the air so long that when Marconi invented the radio, he held the screwdriver), was interviewing a guest about her new book. Suddenly, I noticed that his questions were studded with “uhs” and “ums.” I thought professional broadcasters never said “uh,” but from one article I read on the subject, many radio personalities, as well as some very highly paid TV talk-show hosts, are the biggest offenders. Maybe he just wasn’t prepared enough and began winging it. The longer I listened, the more the “uhs” stood out. Finally, they became so irritating, I had to change the station.

While some people are naturals at speaking to a crowd, many more are not. That said, it’s likely that at some point you will have to address a group of people. It could be a toast, a eulogy, a sales presentation, a trade show speech, etc. When the time comes, you’ll want to be as clear and concise as possible.

The key is, don’t agonize over it; “um’s” and “uh’s” come naturally to everybody, especially when speaking to strangers. These words are called “fillers” or “filled pauses,” and usually happen because you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next. In other words, fillers signify the point between planning what you want to say and actually saying it. Most listeners will bear with some fillers, but too many can become annoying and eventually the audience will “turn you off.”

It’s not hard to get your um’s and uh’s down to a minimum. By following some simple rules and a little practice you’ll sound much more eloquent.

Be prepared! The more you rehearse your speech, the better. You’ll also get off to a much better start if you memorize the first couple of sentences.

Begin with an amusing anecdote or joke. Some speakers start off with a story or a joke, because they know it well enough to tell it without fillers. More importantly, it helps both you and the audience loosen up a bit.

Avoid distractions. Anything that can possibly divert your attention while speaking can actually increase your filler pauses. You have enough to concentrate on, so ignore that cell phone ringing and stay focused on what you’re saying.

Write and speak in shorter sentences. Longer sentences will allow more “uhs” to sneak in. Shorter sentences make you sound more knowledgeable and confident.

Try to replace filled pauses with silent pauses. This “dramatic pause” technique can work to your advantage, since it can help emphasize certain phrases and points within your presentation; just don’t overdo it.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and Executive Editor of Cigar Advisor. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
cigar advisor news - partagas anejo barber pole cigars back in stock - release - cover photo

Cigar News: Partagas Añejo Cigars Return

Reading Time: 2 minutes Using a 1998 Cameroon leaf twisted with a 2013 Connecticut Shade leaf, Partagas Añejo barber pole cigars return for a second release this year. The 4½” Petit Robusto and Esplendido shapes are back promising an intricately layered and complex smoke. Learn more here.

Read More
cigar advisor stocking stuffers 2022 12 cigar gifts of christmas - cover

Stocking Stuffers: The 12 Cigar Accessories of Christmas 2022

Reading Time: 5 minutes “The stockings were hung by the humidors with care, in hopes that cigar loot soon would be there!” See our must-have cigar accessory stocking stuffers inside.

Read More
cigar advisor news - camacho unleashed2 cigars release - cover graphic


Reading Time: 2 minutes Camacho Cigars has announced the addition of their second Camacho Factory Unleashed cigars with Factory Unleashed 2. The new cigar is a Toro rolled in a rare Ecuador Connecticut wrapper over a mostly Corojo leaf blend. Learn more about this bold new blend here.

Read More
how to make an old fashioned cocktail cigar pairing CACover

How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail + Cigar Pairing Recommendation

Looking to learn how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail? Here’s the recipe – and we’ve included a special cigar pairing that will really make this legendary drink go down as smooth as ever. It’s cocktail royalty, and you can learn how it’s done with these simple instructions.
Read More