“Don’t say um too much. Just relax and be yourself.”
Have you ever gotten this (or similar advice) before a presentation? Did it help? Were you suddenly so relaxed and also 100% precise in what you said?
This is a classic example of what we call the General Don’t School of Feedback. There’s a great big negative statement followed by some “advice” so broad and unspecific as to be unhelpful.
You’ll never hear someone from GK Training say anything like “Don’t say um.” It doesn’t work. It actually tends to make folks say “um” more. It’s a great example of a cognitive process called distinction (click here for more on this from Derek and Laura Cabrera). The moment your brain gets an instruction to not say a specific word or sound, it instantaneously distinguishes that single thing from everything else in your mind. It becomes as significant as the known universe.
And that certainly doesn’t help you avoid saying it.
Instead of this negative feedback construction, we help people increase their linguistic precision. Are you in full command of each and every word and sound that comes out of your mouth?
This month’s resource is our go-to kinesthetic drill for linguistic precision: Finger Walking. Start using it today.