“Um” and its discontents

Umm, hi everyone. Umm, does anyone want to join the Facebook discussion I’ll be moderating on Thursday, April 6 at 3 p.m. Eastern? (Note this time is corrected from some earlier messages.)? The topic is the article “The Lawyer’s Guide to Um” by professor Barbara Gotthelf in Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD. Professor Barbara Gotthelf will be joining the conversation, which is open to all lawyers, legal professionals, and law students. You just have to join the Legal Communication and Rhetoric Discussion Group on Facebook before the discussion begins.

I previously mentioned the article here on the blog and recommend the entire thing—which is a pleasure to read—as preparation for the discussion. Gotthelf does not hide the ball:

[U]sing uh and um was not only “perfectly normal,” but also helpful in furthering effective communication.

Whether you hate “um” or barely even notice it, if you’re interested in lawyering and public speaking then this conversation is of interest to you.

This Discussion Group is a project of the journal Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD and is active during scheduled discussions such as this one. This Discussion Group seeks to bring together lawyers, law professors, law students, and legal professionals generally to discuss legal writing and advocacy topics. I’m one of the Social Media Editors for Legal Communication & Rhetoric and look forward to moderating this discussion.

One thought on ““Um” and its discontents

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    Thanks for your unique and important focus. We corporate speech coaches apply this rule: if more than 1-3 % of a speaker’s words contain fillers or vocalized pauses, it’s a good idea to reduce them. Speech fluency is a key ingredient to being perceived as effective and intelligent.
    Readers may be interested in this post and app LikeSo which is getting a lot of attention!
    http://speechimprovement.com/so-easy-to-like-apps-add-to-speech-coaching/

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