22 filler terms we abuse every day—and how to avoid them

We utter these words and phrases in response to awkward situations and uncomfortable silences. Here are a few tips to end your complicity in the practice.

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Have you ever been in a conversation with a seemingly smart, rational person who says something utterly absurd?

It can leave one at a loss for words. “Uh-huh,” might be the only available response, followed by, “Gee, how ’bout those Cubs?”

Absurd or baffling statements aside, too often we find ourselves filling silences with pure twaddle.

I recently made a list of these awkward filler terms. Though they might appear to keep conversation flowing, they’re nothing more than verbal speed bumps. And when I started paying attention, I was alarmed at how frequently I was using them.

PR Daily readers, how many of these creep into your conversations?

1. Um
2. Uh-huh
3. Right
4. Cool
5. OK
6. Yeah
7. Like
8. Really
9. That’s interesting
10. Hmmm
11. All right
12. Good answer
13. I’ve heard of that
14. Is that so
15. You know
16. I know
17. I hear you
18. Surely not
19. You don’t say
20. Seriously
21. Basically
22. Got it

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