“English is like, totally fun to learn, you know?”
If you take out the words “like,” “totally” and “you know” from that sentence, you’re left with a perfectly understandable sentence:

English is fun to learn.

So what’s the point of all those extra words, then?
Words like “totally” and phrases like “you know” are called filler words, and they’re used, like, literally all the time.
You’ve probably heard lots of filler words being used in conversations or in movies and TV shows. These might not seem useful, but they are actually a pretty important part of the English language, especially in American English.
Filler words can be an English learner’s best friends, if you use them correctly and not too often.

What Are Filler Words?

Filler words are words (and phrases) that are used to fill silence when you’re speaking. They’re words that don’t add any real value to the sentence. They simply keep you going while you come up with the rest of your sentence.
Their actual name is “discourse markers,” but they’re much more commonly known as “filler words.”
You might already use filler words without realizing it. When you can’t think of the right word to use in a sentence, you might say “umm.”

This gives you a break while you think, without an awkward, silent pause.
Since filler words don’t really add any meaning to the sentence, you don’t need to think about using them. This leaves your brain free to think of other things—like the word you’re trying to remember.

Building Confidence

Most beginning speakers are afraid of pauses. They believe their audience will think they are inarticulate if they pause to think of what to say next, so they use filler words to avoid the silence. However, a pause is actually more impressive than a filler word. Listeners know that the speaker is thinking, trying to find the right word.
They respect this. Sometimes a pause can actually improve a speech, as when an actor uses a dramatic pause to rivet the attention of his audience.
A speaker shouldn’t be afraid to pause occasionally during a speech; it shows self-confidence.

Johnnie Urban, author and speaker trainer says,
“I remind myself that I have the floor and that nobody is going to interrupt me,” she also adds, “I tell myself that it’s okay to be silent. When I’m collecting my thoughts, I believe I appear more cerebral and deep in thought if I remain silent for a second or two. I appear to be the wise professor who is about to say something profound. I find that the audience will sit up and pay more attention. I tell myself that what seems like a long pause to me is probably a short pause to those in the audience.”

Brittany Hoff Gill of the Eagle Toastmasters in Eagle, Idaho, believes the way a speaker views the situation also affects the “ah” quotient. “Filler words generally come in when you don’t view the presentation as a conversation,” she says. “This makes you nervous and tense, and then you have a tendency to use filler words.”

 Public Speaking Emotions

Use Filler Words in Moderation

Like with anything else, you could use filler words too much. Overusing filler words (using too many, too often) can make you sound unprofessional. Even worse, it can make it difficult to follow your sentences. So do use filler words when you speak, they actually can add some personality to a bland sentence or statement, but don’t use them too much.

This article is a compilation from several different resources.
15+ Quick English Filler Words You’ll Thank Yourself for Learning by YULIYAGEIKHMAN.
Download the complete article: Available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Toastmaster website CUTTING OUT FILLER WORDS

Johnnie Urban Authentic Public Speaking  and Creator of the Speaker Start-up Kit

I found this article and thought you would like it.

Comedians are the ultimate public speakers. Here’s what you can learn from them.





Mike Michalowicz
Author, Profit First
MAY 04, 2012

Comedians are the ultimate public speakers. They have to hold an audience’s attention for an hour or more. They don’t get a break during their talks, and they don’t get to lean on the audience for Q&A. They are expected to make the audience laugh constantly. And they don’t even get to use a PowerPoint bullet list of discussion points.
Comedians know that the secret to keeping an audience engaged is following the commandments of powerful public speaking. Here are their secrets.

1. Humbling personal stories. As a general rule, an audience will envy someone “above” them, connect with someone “like” them, and support someone “below” them. Any degree of arrogance will result in a disengaged audience. Comedians often open up their acts by sharing a humbling or even humiliating story. Not only is it funny, but it shows the audience that they are just a regular Joe. And regular Joes get support from the audience.

2. Just say no to PowerPoint. How often do you see a comedian using the PowerPoint crutch? Pretty much never. Unless, of course, they are making fun of PowerPoint. Comedians know that the best pictures are the ones that you draw in people’s minds. They also know that they want the audience looking at them, not trying to read a screen. Comedians use detailed descriptions, storytelling, body movement, voice tonality and props (that microphone stand can serve a million purposes).

3. Gesticulation. They say that the spoken word is only 5 percent of communication (Personally, I don’t know who “they” are, but I think they are right.) The remainder of communication is in our tone, pitch, facial gestures, and body movements. Comedians know that on stage, it is hard for people to see the minor expressions (e.g., subtle facial expressions), so they make big movements. Every body movement and facial expression is exaggerated so even the person with the worst seats in the house can see it clearly.

4. Laugh-cry-laugh. Like waves rolling in from the ocean, comedians know that the most engaged audiences need to have a release (laughter) and a recovery (a moment of calmness) before the next release (laughing again). As a public speaker, you may even want to move your audience through a little more of an emotional roller coaster. The laughing and crying keeps them connected and opens them up for you to deliver your knowledge and lessons.

5. No lectern. How often do you see comedians using a lectern? That’s right—never! A lectern serves no other purpose than to hide a speaker’s fidgety hands from the audience. The lectern is nothing but a big fat crutch. Avoid it like the plague, unless you use it as a prop.

6. No notes. When was the last time you saw a comedian pull out a notecard to see what their next joke was? A great speech is a prepared speech. Comedians practice their routines over and over, and you must do the same. You can use different mnemonic memory techniques to remember even the most complex speeches. Remember, if you take your eyes off of your audience, they will take their eyes off you. And that creates a disastrous speaking situation.


7. The loop-back. Ever notice that most comedians wrap up their routines by referencing some jokes from earlier on in their routine. I call this method “the loop-back.” Often these jokes come across as the funniest, because they reference something familiar (another joke from earlier in the routine). In the closing of your speech, make sure your refer back to the core content they just learned.

Just because comedians are master public speakers doesn’t mean you need to be a comedian to kill on stage. You aren’t even required to tell jokes (but a few thrown in here and there will surely help). Start to observe the techniques comedians use, and employ them in your own presentations. Set your DVR to record some stand-up material on Comedy Central or HBO and study it. If nothing else, you’ll at least have a few laughs during your training.

Who is your favorite comedian and what public-speaking tips can you learn from he or she?

Exactly what does the phrase Highly Sensitive Person mean to you?

In case you had not noticed, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been teaching classes to Highly Sensitive People on how to best communicate with their trait with other people. Especially in a way that supports both parties making it a win-win for everyone.

But what always comes up is the perception people have about the word “sensitive”.

Does it evoke thoughts of someone who seems to be weak, emotionally unstable or overly dramatic? Take a moment to really think about the meaning of the word sensitive.

Does it mean someone that cries easily, complains on a regular basis or gets offended easily?

The simple truth is there is nothing wrong with being sensitive.

There is certainly nothing inherently bad about the word sensitive either.

The dictionary explains it as;

 “Quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals or influences.”


A Highly Sensitive Person is observant and alert, aware of, conscious of, mindful of small changes around them. This means being tuned into the world as well as every one of its sights, sounds and emotions.

Being a Highly Sensitive Person often means having an appreciation of others feelings. It means being empathic. These are generally essentially positive traits.

Bad Rap?

The words Highly Sensitive usually receives a bad rap. This is because the phrase sensitive is associated with negative meanings. Research shows about 15-20% of the population is sensitive. It crosses gender and specie boundaries and is something people and critters are born with. Highly Sensitive People process sensory data much more deeply as opposed to others because of differences in their nervous systems.

Do you think you are a Highly Sensitive Person?

Lets’ talk a little bit about us.

  • We think deeply about things.
  • We hate making the wrong decisions.
  • We like to do things correct the first time. “Do it right, do it once”
  • We analyze subtle information and also have a difficult time making decisions.

We can become easily overwhelmed by all the information and the details of every piece of information and stimulation which is around us.  We may be incessantly bothered if our physical environment feels uncomfortable.

In case you wanted to know more about us.

We are strongly affected and can be  impacted by most anything. Whether it is violence or horror on the news, television, movies or social media.

Yet we are also empathetic towards the feelings others have. We love and deeply appreciate music, art and poetry.

Does this seem like it could be you? Then, I actually have even more to share with you about being a very sensitive person.

  • You are one of many.
  • You are not wrong.
  • You are not weird!
  • You simply might be highly sensitive.
  • It is much like being right-handed or extroverted. It is just something you are born with, and it is in fact not an illness or even a problem.  It does not need to be fixed, and you do not  have to be cured.

Above all, first and foremost, sensitivity  is not a sign of weakness.

It can be life changing  to discover that you are a highly sensitive individual.

It can open your eyes to many things about yourself which you never understood.

It will also help you accept yourself more.

Above all it can help you to surround yourself with the people that really get you.

Johnnie Urban

Hello Community,

This weeks blog is going to take a slightly different direction from my usual stories.

I just have to share with you a piece of time sensitive information that I just received.

As you might know Elaine Aron, Phd is the foremost authority on the research of the Highly Sensitive Person.

Movie Premier Sold Out

She and her team are about to have the premier of the movie Sensitive, the Untold Story on September 10, 7:30 pm.

As you would guess this movie was created so that the world would be able to understand what being a Highly Sensitive Person is all about.

Good News-Live Streaming

The Premier in San Francisco is sold out, however live streaming of the event will be available for 48 hours.

Hurry NOW the price is only $20 until September 6th, after that it will be $30.

Here is the link for more information: http://sensitivethemovie.com

Exciting News

Family Jumping at the Beach

I am so looking forward to this movie as it is designed to shed some light on the Highly Sensitive Person, their traits and abilities.

Whenever I talk about Highly Sensitive People I almost always get comments of “Be careful about putting that label on people.”, and “The sensitive nature of people is a choice and is just bad behavior.”

One side of me gets irritated that these comments are insensitive and hurtful (my reactive sensitive side) the other side of me (the patient, loving sensitive side) is saying, “Bless your heart, you need some insight on the trait.”

Labeling Is Not Fair

Labeling a person, no matter what it is, is not what this is about. Some HSP will feel “superior” or “special”. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel significant as along as it is not hurtful to ourselves or others.

For me, I feel insightful and curious that all people are unique with their own special gifts, abilities and traits and I feel if we can understand each other a little deeper we would all get along and work together better.

Good news, now we have a movie. Can’t wait to watch and share it.


It’s Your Life, Let’s Make It Wonderful.

Ps, Again, Here is the link, I promise you will love it. http://sensitivethemovie.com

Fire and Rain

It was early March of 2002, a little bit after midnight near the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. I was walking barefoot in the worst rain storm Southern California has ever had, and I was freaking out. I was about to walk over hot coals for the first time in my life and I was freaking out because I was getting soaking wet.

As you can imagine, this particular night changed my life forever.

Something I Learned From Tony Robbins.
Back up a few months to November, 2001. At that time, I had been working as a hairstylist for about six years. I loved every aspect of my career. Helping people look and feel their best. Creating works of art with hair and the constant education helped propel me to become one of the top Master stylists in the area. It was not unusual for me to pick up a new client every week or so. And that is how I met a client that would change my life forever. Fast forward to March 2002, I was working on the hair of this new client when out of the blue she asked me if I wanted to attend a Tony Robbins four day Unleash The Power Within event. It was going to be in about a week and about 30 minutes from where I lived.


(If you haven’t heard of Tony Robbins, you can find out more at TonyRobbins.com.)

Well, I hesitated and kinda said, “Ok?” when she stopped me and said, “Honey, if you say yes, then you have to go and I will get you a ticket.”

Now, I had followed Tony Robbins and read his book and even had an old cassette tape that I enjoyed. I never thought I would end up at an event. And now I was standing there in the pouring rain looking down on really hot coals that I was about to walk on.

This turned out to be a major turning point in my life. And I thank God every day for all the events that had to happen for that client and me to come together.
Since that first event, and every year after that, I have enjoyed attending at least three or more of Tony’s events as a crew member or a Senior Leader, helping support the transformation of thousands of people. I have also taken the steps toward joining Tony Robbins’ coaching team as a certified Strategic Interventionist. I can truly say life has never been the same.

Human Psychology Is Amazing
Because of what I have learned about human psychology and how to get people out of their pain fast, I have left the field of hair styling and am now a full time Life Success Coach and Strategic Interventionist.

How does a Highly Sensitive Person navigate all of this? That is exactly why I wrote this book (Stop The Madness, How the Highly Sensitive Person Can Thrive In a Chaotic World-http://tinyurl.com/oy6spll). To help you understand that you too can have a life of meaning and fulfillment.

Tony Robbins has taken human psychology into his teachings and uses the six human needs to help understand how we make decisions in our lives.
I have hundreds of stories about how understanding these 6 HN’s have saved marriages, a relationship with a teenage child, a relationship between a coworker and a boss. I believe they change the course of history in people’s lives.

All human beings share the same six basic human needs. These needs underlie all the choices we make in our lives.

The first need is for Certainty. We want to feel safe, avoid pain and feel comfortable in our environment and our relationships. Every individual needs to have some sense of certainty and security – a roof over one’s head, knowing where the next meal will come from, knowing how to obtain care when one is sick, knowing that a neighbor won’t attack us. These are just a few examples of what constitutes a basic sense of certainty.
Everyone needs certainty but the degree to which certainty is needed or desired varies from person to person. Some people feel secure living in one room and collecting an unemployment check. Others can feel certainty only if they make a million dollars each year. Even though some certainty is necessary to all of us, what constitutes certainty varies from individual to individual. Code words for Certainty are comfort, security, safety, stability, feeling grounded, predictability, and protection.

What It Means To A Highly Sensitive Person
An HSP’s need for certainty is especially high. Controlling their environment and other people can take on an obsessive quality if not kept in check with reality. There are extremes from one end of the spectrum to the other where one person may need to know every little detail about an upcoming trip to relieve their emotional stress and another HSP can relax with a limited amount of information knowing that whatever happens will be absolutely perfect. I see quite a few HSPs never having a long term, successful relationship with someone because there is no certainty in it. They will stay single the rest of their lives rather than take the risk of having an intimate relationship in their lives.

If you want to know what the other 5 Human Needs are sign up for my blog at www.EverythingHSP.com
Each week I will write for your delight.

Johnnie Urban
Strategic Interventionist
Coaching Highly Sensitive People To Have Extraordinary Fullfilling Lives.

Feminine Energy vs Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

The other day I was eating lunch with some friends at an event.
Most of my friends are open to new progressive ideas and are educated in human psychology. Like me they are always curious about life experiences and are what we call life long learners.
As we were joyfully sharing what we were up to lately I opened up with the concept of writing a book to address the challenges highly sensitive people in today’s world.

Being curious they wanted to know more about what was a Highly Sensitive Person. I suspect that they wanted to know if they were Highly Sensitive. In the middle of my explanation of the traits and abilities of what an HSP has I was suddenly stopped, by one of my friends, and asked “Isn’t that just feminine energy?”

This is not the first time I have been asked that. It seems whenever I am talking to someone that is not Highly Sensitive they just don’t get it.

If the term feminine energy is new to you then I have some good news for you. I’m going to share with you, to the best of my ability what it is and how it differs from being an HSP.


Everyone has both a masculine and a feminine side. For the purpose of this chapter I am leaving out the masculine explanation because I will only be comparing feminine energy and begin a Highly Sensitive Person at this time.
Being a HSP is not exclusive to women. There are just as many men that are born with the traits as there are women. But society dictates men are not supposed to possess the traits and women are. Both will suffer and be confused by this stereotyping.

As in most things there are varying degrees of feminine energy depending on the individual person, the culture they are living in, how they where raised as a child and your hormones.
The feminine side is based on a deep level of the value that you place on others. If you have a strong feminine side and place a high value on others, you are often giving and unselfish. You usually know what is good for people, and you tend to operate in ways that helps others, get what they want out of life. People feel comfortable around you because you give of who you are without pushing yourself on others.
Conversely if you have a weak feminine side, you place a low value on others, and you are not a giving person. You are isolated because you don’t want to share yourself or share anything you have. Also, you don’t take responsibility for actions and place blame on others for your problems.
A strong feminine energy often behaves in ways that are considered feminine in nature. You will do things that are giving and unselfish. This includes recognizing people’s basic human rights and allowing them live their life without interfering with those rights. Allowing people their basic rights includes letting them control their own life, letting them choose what they want to believe without being manipulated by you. The feminine side also includes having an enthusiasm and zest for life, and recognizing what things are worth getting enthusiastic about. It also includes being kind, compassionate, patient and responsive to the needs of others, and it includes the ability to limit the amount go energy you put into helping people, to keep from hurting yourself or draining your own energy.

There is a gathering aspect to feminine energy. Going back to the cavemen days where the hunters (men) went out with their physical strength, spears, knives and arrows to hunt for food and protect the family. The women, and weak men and children, would stay close to the cave and gather food from the ground, bushes and trees. They had to remember the details of where to find non-poisonous berries and clean water. They would stay close together to protect each other from a pouncing tiger or lion.
These are the basic needs for survival even to this day. Feminine energy today is still about gathering and staying together for survival and protection. It’s just looks a little bit different. In today’s world we see survival as being accepted into the group. We will gather together for lunch and give kind words and support even if we don’t mean it. Even go the restroom together.
An all important thing that happy and healthy feminine energy gathers and shares are details. Details about a person, a dress, a pair of shoes, who was at the party or a trip and when the time is right she will share it until your ears fall off.

Now let’s go back and do some comparing to the HSP and connect the dots.

1. Emotionally immature
2. Self-centered
3. Unpredictable and unstable emotions
4. Over-dependent
5. Demanding and attention thirsty

1. Have great imagination
2. Have great intellectual abilities
3. Are creative
4. Have a curious mind
5. Are hard workers
6. Are good problem solvers
7. Are extremely conscious and compassionate
8. Are intuitive, caring and spiritual
9. Have a strong sense of aesthetic awareness
10. Respect nature, art and music greatly
11. Have profound and intense sensations
12. Can access important information from the unconscious mind
13. Have a depth of understanding and feelings
14. Are objective and can see the bigger picture

A Highly Sensitive Person has similar traits to feminine energy when it comes to being conscious, caring and compassionate. There is also a correlation to having a strong sense of aesthetic awareness (shoes and outfit matching), and can access important information from the unconscious mind (intuition). Other than that there is not much else in common.

Your comments or questions are always appreciated. :)

Johnnie Urban


Missing In Action?

Missing in Action?

Why you haven’t seen much of me lately.

If you haven’t noticed that my blog has taken the last few months off that’s ok. We are all busy and have extraordinary lives that seem to dictate each and every minute of our waking lives.

Earlier this year my family was experiencing some life changing milestones. Even though I tried to keep on writing and sharing insights with you, my brain and heart were being held hostage in what we were experiencing.

The details are not important. What IS important is TODAY.

The journey that we all go on that develops us into who we are BEING is whats important.

Who are we BEING TODAY that makes the journey all worth it?

If I had a choice would I choose the difficult and challenging life?

You Betcha!

How much pressure and time does it take to turn an ugly piece of coal into a perfect beautiful diamond?

I’m far from being that perfect diamond even though today I think I do sparkle most of the time

Sitting on our sofa last night I was just sharing with my husband that even though the last 5 years have been challenging (he says sucked big time) I wouldn’t change it for anything.

That unexpected chapter in my life brought me to my knees, literally. And it seemed, at the time, that I would never heal and that we were doomed at having to settle for what our lives had become.

But the most valuable distinction I learned from the experience is something that I NEVER THOUGHT  was even in my awareness.

And now I DEEPLY understand;

Life doesn’t happen to you, It happens for you.


Stay tuned, more to come :)

I would LOVE to hear any comments and words of learnings at

Johnnie Urban
It’s Your Life, let’s Make It Wonderful

Disclaimer, No words were harmed in the writing of this blog, however grammar and punctuation may have taken a hit