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How you can get better at communication - Product Manager edition!

What triggered this : watching too many talks and I’m churning from them because I keep hearing these fillers. Why this - I taught communication and public speaking for years. I think I can help

What does this have to do with PM? Which is where I want 80% or more of conversation here to be about! It is mostly a job that involves lot of communication and we all need to be mindful of how we convey things. And obviously this isn’t just for PMs but wanted to set context

Ok so let’s understand how do these words impact your comms:

\1. When you’re sharing something concrete and you use excessive fillers it sounds that your work isn’t thorough.

\2. It distracts the user especially when listening to the speaker on say a webinar/lecture. This is because fillers are usually conversational but speeches are not. Idk if u experienced this, but when you have heard a teacher say the same words you concentrated on counting those instead of listening to her

People want to think the you are speaking naturally but fillers if used excessively sounds like you’re underprepared. Ok so now, if this is the emotion we spark why do we use these words ? Because we are conditioned to believe that sometimes pauses are bad so we use these instead. To tell our audience ‘hey I am still talking’

Oh so what am I saying? Just pause instead of ‘umm’ yeah somewhat. We think faster than we speak, we pause sometimes because we need to collect thoughts. So collect them, don’t worry our audience will wait. In public speaking when you question or express a hard fact u pause

You pause for over 3seconds sometimes and that’s okay, people are also just catching upto what you are saying. Also when you’re delivering a monologue you don’t understand time well, so you may think u paused longer but youre not.

So what can we do further to avoid this ?

  1. Run your script once before you start.
  2. Learn to embrace pauses and give the listeners thinking time
  3. Don’t be nervous, you are the speaker, you are educating people. You know your strength own it. So does this mean you should never not use these words?
  4. UMM, no! Use them when required and sparingly like the rest of your vocab.
  5. Unless your content is over powered by these, I’d say you’re alright.
  6. Just record yourself and see if you use them too much and correct from there
Published 16 Apr 2021

Always looking for learning opportunities in product and life.
Vindhya C on Twitter