“Uh …”

“Errr …”

“Um …”

“Ya’ know …”

“First of all …”

“Basically …”

“… like …”

“At the end of the day …”

No. This isn’t a stream of consciousness thought. These are the words and sounds which can slow down any audio recording and its momentum.

All of us have crutch words and phrases. We rely on them more than we realize in our everyday speech. It is a force of habit.

Being on the mic can be quite unnatural if you are not being yourself. This isn’t about throwing away who you are on the mic. It is about being your best self when the recording light is on.

And it’s not just words. Phrases, too, are problematic in audio recordings, as well – and then … there are the sounds. The following are culprits in derailing any type of progress during audio recordings:

  • Teeth sucking
  • Deep breaths
  • Hard swallowing
  • Smacking when opening your mouth
  • Clearing your throat

Surely audio producers can weed out these obstructions, right? Yes, they can. However, you make their jobs longer and more difficult when these noises are in the audio mix – and you want to sound like a polished professional. The thing is – You CAN sound like a polished professional. Being disciplined on the mic will help you – and your producer – get you there a lot faster.

  • Teeth sucking – Many people use this as an ‘attitudinal bit’ in speaking their piece. The problem is you are letting a sound carry the weight of your content’s potency and not your words.
  • Deep breaths – If you are skiled at doing this in conversation, you can frame a deep breath to give you some dramatic hook. Do it before you say something huge. Doing it in the middle of speaking can be problematic in ridding once you are min the middle of expressing something.
  • Hard swallowing – When anyone does this, it is a clear-cut sign that your mouth is watering up with saliva. When that happens, the normal tendency is to swallow the saliva so that your throat can get some type of lubrication. Drinking water will cure you of this tendency.
  • Smacking – It is a natural thing to open your mouth and have a sound come out of it while doing so. If you can recall your mother talking to you about smacking while eating your food. The same rule applies, here. Your mic is sensitive. Be mindful of that when you open your mouth.
  • Clearing your throat – Many of us have to deal with congestion. Outside of sickness (when it can’t be helped), water and green tea with honey are your greatest allies. Instead of the harsh clearing, drink something to free your throat. You will save on damaging your vocal chords.

As for the words that get in the way of a healthy conversational flow: A few ‘uh’ and ‘um’ sounds are fine. But you … uh … can’t go overboard … uum … in using these sounds, words and phrases … YouknowwhatI’msaying? This one simple technique can spell the difference between making an audio production sound beautiful … and one which sounds bogged down by unnecesary words …


Yes. Pause. If the words aren’t coming out of your mouth, take a pause and allow the words to come into your head. The late Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the most eloquent human beings ever, used the gift of pause to collect her thoughts and make sure every word carries weight with it. Don’t rush the thought. Let it naturally come to you. Dead air is a bad thing – but it is much easier to eliminate pauses than it is a noise that doesn’t belong.

Prepare what you want to say. You don’t have to read a script. Have some sort of direction in mind – even if you are improvising your thoughts on the mic. Practice broadening your vocabulary, as well, so those ‘thinking words’ have no place in your whole conversation.


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