Clean Up Your Presentation – There’s an App for That!

Use your smartphone to improve your public speaking skills

Most business professionals have some brand of smartphone by now. And every day we can learn new ways to use them to increase productivity. But did you know your smartphone can also help you improve your public speaking skills? It’s true! For example, the app “Ummo” can quickly become your favorite tool for presentation practice and improvement.

Here is an example:

Many of my clients struggle to erase filler words, like “um,” from their vocabulary. In the past, I have used all sorts of techniques to help people control unwanted “fillers.” I would clap whenever I heard one, or have others clap when they heard them. For a while I used a “restaurant counter” bell when I heard a client say “um” and sometimes the room would be filled with rings! I would stand behind clients and tap them gently on the shoulder whenever an “um” slipped out or sometimes I would just say, “without the um!” and have them repeat the sentence. I would have them pause after every second or third word, which usually works like a charm, but if it didn’t I would have them listen to their presentations and count every “um.” The shock of hearing 40 or 60 unconscious, unwanted fillers in a short speech was effective.

Despite all this, some clients still struggle with “ums.” This is why a smartphone app like Ummo is such a good learning tool. It serves as a follow-up to our coaching, and it is easy to add to a speaker’s toolkit. It allows our clients to practice their presentations, get immediate feedback, and improve over time.

Ummo lets you record your presentation, and then helps you clean it up. It tracks what you say, shows you a transcript, and then offers various tools to help you improve. Going back to our “um” example, Ummo can track this, tag it as a problem word, and beep each time you say it. With continued practice and repetition, you can fix the mistakes, remove the unwanted fillers, and by the time your actual presentation rolls around you’ll sound prepared and confident.

Even those who engage in public speaking infrequently might benefit from Ummo or a similar app. Say you are presenting new material, explaining a complicated topic, or speaking to a larger than normal group. In these challenging situations, you might be more nervous than usual. You’ll want to practice often so you can speak with greater clarity. Having a support app like Ummo can help make your presentation clear and engaging. And for only $2, it’s definitely worth a download.

Although Ummo is a helpful tool, don't forget the other speaking fundamentals you need to employ to ensure that you give a polished presentation. Here are a few tips that will help you eliminate those “ums.”

ummo watch app - DeFinis Communications - Presentation Skills Training
  • Speak slowly and carefully. Pause after every 2nd or 3rd word.
  • Read a paragraph from any text and do the same.
  • Record and listen to yourself speak—and count your “ums.”
  • Ask a colleague or friend to listen for “ums.” Tell them you are trying to break the habit and ask them to point out when you are using them in excess.
  • Smile when you speak. I don’t know why this works, but it does!

Developing an engaging speech, polishing your delivery, and rehearsing with Ummo will set you up for success. The more you practice, the more you will improve—and the less Ummo will interrupt you!