Even the smartest, brightest and confident create distrust when they use the common tic of dropping-in the meaningless phrase, um.
It's perfectly understandable and perfectly discrediting. In lecture-like conversations, presentations, and even interviews, the best of us will drop-in repeated um's to keep things sounding like we know what we're saying and where we're going.
Doesn't matter whether we are Harvard grads, lawyers, journalists obsessive about the Oxford comma and proofing everything twice, the dreaded um will make an appearance.
Speech coaches will take your money to train you to eliminate it because some of us are really bothered by it. That's one thing.
But the subliminal message our um's send goes unnoticed by most - even as it signals to the world, 'I'm worth being ignored'.
What's the upside of eliminating it? (Here's the funny thing communicators won't tell you.) The lack of um's won't make your message more effective - it just won't make it less effective.
No magic formula to it - it's just something we shouldn't do to ourselves.
No um about it.