UHM`s and ERR`s - Think before you Talk

UHM`s and ERR`s - Think before you Talk

Although filler words such as `Uhm` and `Err` prove that you are human too, when these sounds are heard on frequency it tends to promote confusion, doubt and apprehension to anyone that may be listening out. The result is two-fold in that firstly the use of these type of filler words can directly impact your credibility and secondly it can also affect the listener’s ability to understand your message.

In normal everyday language these particular fillers can be a distraction and negatively impact our overall impression of the situation. But I am sure one can agree that they’re a common part of everyday speech and we’ve all kind of learned to filter them out. The problem is somewhat different on any dedicated frequency in that there can only be one user speaking at a time. Now if the user happens to be the filler `specialist`, not only are those that are monitoring the frequency feeling somewhat perplexed by the attempted transmission, the fact is that the frequency is becoming congested unnecessarily by terminology that is not even recognised?

So how does one adjust their communication style to avoid these filler types when communicating on frequency. This begins with learning how to communicate using standard Radio Telephony procedures. Trying to remember what to say for any situation encountered, as opposed to practising how to communicate, is a sure way of introducing these fillers unnecessarily. In a previous blog we have already mentioned the `Push to Talk`, not `Push to Think` approach to professional two-way radio communications.

The same can be said with `fillers`. The resultant affect leads to a situation where the person `trying` to communicate on frequency unfortunately sounds like they are thinking and are thus unsure of what to say. So, in addition to RT practise, maybe one should also consider focusing on eliminating these filler types in your everyday speech. After all this could just be a form of a bad habit which you are unconsciously allowing to become part of your communications on frequency. You know what you want to say but because of your bad habit, the listener is led to doubting your transmission/s.   

If you’re in the camp of people who use these type of fillers a little more than you intend to, then there are a few ways to try and tackle the issue – from getting immediate feedback from your trainer for example, to keeping a consistent pace using structure or even using some visualization techniques. After all, filler words have a negative effect and reflect poorly on your communication skills.

The primary objective of any user of two-way radio communications is to maintain a professional image. In doing so, fillers can automatically create an environment where this objective starts becoming out of reach. From a Human Factors perspective this problem of continual use of fillers such as `Uhm` and `Err` can be defined as unconscious overuse in situations where the party transmitting is not prepared.    

Rather than being identified as someone who is thinking what to say next, go out there and practise what needs to be transmitted on a two-way radio in your chosen discipline. After all, time is crucial when making a transmission on a two-way radio. For further assistance with your radio communications please pop us an email