Peppering your conversations with "like" can seem like the norm or even cool in high school, but when it comes to the working world, it can discredit your professionalism. You might as well throw in a "whatever" or "as if!" while you're at it. It disrupts the flow of your conversation, and also makes you sound unsure of what you are saying.
However, this doesn't mean that you can't use the word at all. The word "like" is properly used in some instances:
- You're comparing the similarity between two items: This shirt is like the one I have.
- You favor something: I like him
- You're giving an example: A sport like football.
Here are some things you can do to curb the use of the filler:
- Record yourself: Try to record yourself talking on the phone with a friend and watch how often you say the word. This will make you more aware of how much you say "like." You may start automatically noticing your usage when you're talking.
- Make a conscious effort: Make an effort to stop saying "like" in all your conversations. The more you practice, the more second nature it'll become to you.
- Join Toastmasters: Join your local Toastmasters to improve your public speaking skills, which most definitely will include the banning of the use of the word "like."
- Slow down: You may be interjecting the word "like" in your conversation as fillers because you need more time to process your thoughts before you speak. Start slowing down your speech and take pauses when you need them. People often worry about pauses making the conversation uncomfortable, but it actually shows that you're thinking before you speak, which is always a positive trait.