speech therapy

Speech Therapy – How can it help to eliminate Verbal Tics?

One has to converse with peers and colleagues at every step of life. The skill cultivated at an early age will help children to converse freely and confidently. Teach children to eliminate verbal tics through speech therapy.

speech by obama

Even big speakers, billionaires, fund managers, presidents of countries or even noble prize winners have the problem of the verbal tics. Here is the technique to get rid of ur, um, er, and other verbal tics through speech therapy.

What one speaks is important but more important is how one speaks. Before coming to the elimination of verbal tics through speech therapy, here are few tips for a good speech.

Tips for a good speech

speech therapy

  1. The words should be pronounced clearly and distinctly.
  2. To improve the quality of voice, try to maintain a good posture – sit or stand erect.
  3. Breathe normally while speaking, shallow or deep breathing would affect speech adversely.
  4. To produce the most pleasing speech, focus on tone, pitch, volume, and clarity.
  5. The tone should be linked with emotions. Learn to vary the tone.
  6. Use a well-modulated and low pitch voice.
  7. Voice should be warm, pleasing, and polite.
  8. Try not to mumble and avoid hawing and humming.
  9. A normal pace of delivery should be maintained – neither too fast nor too slow and neither too loud nor too slow.
  10. Maintain eye-contact with the listeners and adopt positive body language.

learn speech

You are not alone with the Verbal Tics who needs Speech Therapy

Using these verbal tics once or twice in your speech is okay. But think if you put a comma after every word, how absurd it will look.

Once my friend gave a fantastic presentation with the hall full of applauds. But he said later that it was pathetic as he used so many verbal tics. I looked around and said ‘Did anyone even noticed!’

No! We played his recorded speech again and he only said two ‘ums’ in 20 minutes. That is not actually a problem. Don’t be too harsh on yourself.

We’ll be discussing few tips of speech therapy – how to reduce the verbal tics in our speech. It doesn’t mean that we can eliminate them completely.


How to eliminate verbal tics through speech therapy?

  • Use the computer to type these words whatever you use most such as uh, um, like, say! Type in small and medium font size and then print these out on a piece of paper.
  • Take a red marker and put a red circle around it and cut it out with a slash over it. It is same as an international ‘NO’ sign.
  • It will show you NO um, NO uh, Now cut it out and tape it to your phone, IPad or wall, or anything you look at daily. After a day, after looking at these No posters, it will make you aware that you have to use it lesser.
  • After two-three days also, it will come out of your mouth. But after a week the image will pop-up in your brain and you can hold or pause those particular verbal tics in your speech. It really works!
  • If you really want to reduce the use of verbal tics, you will have to do something contradictory. Stop focusing on ‘not using the verbal tics’. Instead, focus on actually communicating ideas of interest to the person whom you are speaking to.
  • Focus on your audience while speaking, if you are speaking something of their interest or not or anything which is useful for them. Pick up a topic that is likely to be of interest to most of the people present there.
  • If you will count every single um, it is counter-productive. Only focusing on um and not delivering the actual information and the ideas you are supposed to deliver would be of no use. If you are speaking, only focus on speaking.
  • If you are not being interested to your audience, you are having this fear of not being understood, the discomfort starts. Now it’s the time to eliminate this discomfort.
  • If your speech is boring, practice the speech before delivering to make it more interesting and memorable. When you’ll get confidence after practice, you’ll be more relaxed and you’ll forget to say um and uh.
  • Appear more confident by remaining in your comfort zone. Use simple words instead of long and difficult words which are also difficult for you to remember and your audience. Stumbling between long and difficult phrases destroys your confidence. The solution is not to spend much time in rehearsing and memorizing it, the solution is – do not focus on particular words. Instead, focus on one idea at a time and deliver it in a flow without the verbal tics.
  • Many people are fine in speaking with family, friends, and colleagues. But when they have to stand to deliver the formal speech, uh and um come in the way. There is the problem how they structure their presentation. They are trying to cover every single fact devoid the context.
  • Avoid the data dumping blues and be specific. Do not be nerve wrecking and put pressure on your brain. Also, do not put your audience to death by delivering the boring speech.
  • Do not make your speech hour long by rattling the facts after facts. It makes you look uncomfortable and thereby unprofessional.

record your speech

In speeches, presentations and talks, eliminate your uh and um by the least popular technique which I am going to share with you now.

recording speech

  • Practice what you are saying by recording yourself on your phone. If you don’t like the idea of recording video, try to record audio. Watch it and listen to it.
  • Observe now, is it interesting? Whether you want to listen to it or not?
  • If it sounds interesting, then count your uh and um. No one is going to remember if it is one or two um but be careful if you are using too much.
  • Don’t try on perfection but be specific and focus on your idea and deliver it clearly.
  • Think of any topic, prepare, note down the points and the ideas behind your speech.
  • Practice by recording on your mobile phone. Keep practicing until you minimize the verbal tics in your speech.
  • Make your speech more fluid and more interesting. Visualize yourself delivering the speech.
  • Ask for feedback from other persons about your presentation skills.

This is for minor speech problems. If you have severe speech problems you need to consult a proper speech pathologist.


Have more tips to add that worked for you to eliminate the verbal tics and speech therapy? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Wish you a very Happy Parenting!



Divya is a writer, who loves to read and write. She is a Company Secretary by profession. She is passionate about art, reading, writing, music, and creativity. She loves to do research on ‘Parenting’ and discover new things now and then. Her passion about positive parenting pushed her to write on ‘Wonder Parenting’. Her loving daughter, Vachie, helped her to dig deep and reach new heights on Parenting. She believes that ‘Parenting is Patience’ and shares her own journey to express that parenting approach differs for every individual.
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