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Story & Photo by Erin Profaci, Senior at Fairfield University

Shaky hands, two hours of sleep and some sad looking index cards: the winning formula for a killer class presentation. When you stand in front of the class to give a presentation, you pray that what comes out of your mouth is exactly what you have rehearsed. Often times, however, what comes out is a quivery and “like”-filled version that was not exactly what you had in mind.

High-pressure situations such as a presentation or an interview, where we have to leave a good impression in a short amount of time, can cause us to tense up and use an unnecessary amount of filler words such as “like,” “so,” and “ya know.” The anxiety that comes along increases the use of these filler words and can make it very difficult to perform at the level at which we are all capable.

As a student at Fairfield University, I am more familiar with this anxious feeling than I like to admit. Luckily, I rarely feel this anxiety anymore. I have recently discovered a highly effective way to gain that confidence that is crucial in high-pressure situations such as presentations or job interviews. The iPhone app LikeSo is an interactive personal speech coach that provides us with a fun way to train against certain verbal tendencies and help eliminate the excessive filler words that are tainting the way we speak.

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“We all want to speak in a way that compels others to listen,” says Say It Media, Inc. founder, Audrey Mann Cronin. “But when we insert too many ‘likes’ and ‘ya knows,’ we lessen our credibility and invite unnecessary judgment.”

As a senior, I feel that I have one foot in the door and one foot out. I am scrambling to pull together an updated resume and schedule interviews while still working on group projects and studying for exams. Amongst all of this preparation for the “real world,” it is so important to keep focused on what I believe to be the source of success: confidence. This app allows us to build confidence and composure when we speak; crucial in all aspects of a successful life.

Many believe that the age of smartphones is yielding a less articulate and more distracted generation. As a young person and an avid smartphone user, I think that we should view this as our opportunity. If we can use our phones in a positive and constructive way, instead of allowing them to suck up our time and attention, then we can really improve our lives. With LikeSo, Mann Cronin says, “We want to turn our smartphone addiction into a solution.”

LikeSo is available in the Apple store for only 99 cents and can be easily downloaded. The app offers two modes of play: FreeStyle and TalkAbout. FreeStyle is your own open mic, for any upcoming public speaking opportunities. TalkAbout is a conversation game for speaking on the fly. You can choose from eight topics (“The Interview,” “Debate Team,” “Speed Dating,” etc.) and LikeSo delivers five prompts to get you talking! I feel way more confident having LikeSo in my back pocket.

LikeSo may be the key for college students to overcome the fear of these high-pressure situations and gain essential communication skills. In our preparation for the professional world, it is imperative that we build ourselves up and gain the confidence to encounter new and possibly intimidating situations. Without apprehension and hesitation, not only in speech, but also in all aspects of life, we really can conquer anything.

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