We’ve arrived at the letter U: Ubiquitous Ums.

Picture this: You’re about to deliver an amazing speech that will leave your audience inspired and excited. But then, 30 seconds into your introduction those sneaky little ums start popping up, turning your eloquence into a sleep aid. Next thing you know, people are picking their phones, laptops, scrolling Instagram, taking bored selfies…

Time to reclaim your speaking mojo. Here are some quick tips.

Start an Umm Club at Work: To defeat ums, you must first become their arch enemy. Form an Umm Club, complete with a secret handshake and anti-um slogans. Attend each other’s presentations and count each other’s ums.

Embrace the Magic of the Pause: Learning to get comfortable with a 1- or 2-second beat of silence is the be-all-end-all of eradicating ums.

After this post, hop over to YouTube and find a clip of your favorite comedian. We suggest Sebastian Maniscalco or Kathleen Madigan (both have mostly clean acts!). Watch how they’ve mastered the pause. If they didn’t have that skill, not only would they ruin their punchlines, they would step on the laughs.

Befriend Transitional Phrases: The easiest place to get rid of ums is in your transitions. Try to sprinkle your speech with phrases like “voila,””ta-da,” or “bingo.”

Just kidding!

No, we’re referring to words like, “next,” “however,” ”moving forward,” “moreover.” Not only will they add structure to your speech, they’ll also keep your audience tuned into what’s next.

Word fillers should never undermine your delivery. Remember, public speaking should be fun, and when those ums are gone, your audience will thank you for a presentation that was as entertaining as it was enlightening.