Cigar Lifestyle

Tips for Better Speaking to an Audience

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.

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, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. 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

#Nowsmoking: Aging Room Pura Cepa Rondo

Aging Room Pura Cepa hits the bulls-eye on all counts: see more of our quick review, and who we’d recommend this cigar to

Read More

Boxes Full of Blues: The Best Cigar Boxes to Make Cigar Box Guitars

We Advisors love our cigars, and our Blues. Watch and listen as we sit with Shane Speal, King of the Cigar Box Guitar: he shows us his picks for the best cigar boxes to make cigar box guitars, and we tell him interesting facts about the cigars that came in those boxes before they started making that sweet, sweet music.
Read More
archetype axis mundi cigar review MWC CACover

My Weekend Cigar: Mar. 19, 2018 – Archetype Axis Mundi Toro

Heaven meets Earth in this stellar cigar - and it found its way to #13 on 2017's Top 25 cigars list. It's the Archetype Axis Mundi, made at the Drew Estate factory in Nicaragua for Ventura Cigars, and it's My Weekend Cigar that went GREAT with a cup of coffee. Get my tasting notes and more in this short cigar review!
Read More
Connecticut vs. Habano

Difference between Connecticut and Habano Cigar Wrappers

Two types of cigar wrappers with very different flavors and aromas: Or, almost all you ever wanted to know about Connecticut Shade and Habano wrappers.
Read More