DSC_8651e red final with hand (3)

(This post was contributed by 16-year-old Amanda Cronin)

“Hi I’m Samantha Robinson and I’d like to represent you as senior class president because, like, I really, like, love this school, and so I think that, like, I could, like, make a difference, so, yeah…” (not her real name.)

These were the words spoken by a student who ran for president in last year’s high school election. After two minutes of listening to her speak, I wanted to cover my ears.

I didn’t want to shut her out because I disagreed with what she was saying, nor did I dislike her ideas. I wanted to plug my ears because I couldn’t bear listening to the constant parade of “likes” and “sos” that invaded her speech. Yes, she was probably perfectly qualified for the position, maybe even more qualified than her three fellow candidates, and yet, when it was time to submit my vote for school president, I chose the candidate that actually sounded more qualified.

A week later, I was in biology class working on a project when my group overheard the ramblings of a girl in another group. One of my group members began silently counting on her fingers. When the girl finished talking, she blurted out, “Eighteen! You just said ‘like’ eighteen times!”

Everyone laughed, and the girl looked surprised, then embarrassed; she hadn’t even realized…

Then, the other day I was eating lunch with my friends in the cafeteria, and caught myself inserting “likes” and “ya knows” into my own speech! I had been infected too!

When did the contagious “like, ya know” virus start its infectious march down the school hallways?

Whether you’re running for class office, giving a presentation, or chatting with your friends, when we wedge filler words such as “like” and “ya know” into pauses in conversation, we sound less confident, less educated, and less competent.

Think of a conversation like a slice of Swiss cheese, holes are natural and it is not necessary to fill them.

We need a solution, and thankfully, now there is one! I am proud to say that I am the “chief muse” behind – and the appointed chief youth officer for – LikeSo, a new mobile app and your personal speech coach!

LikeSo was created by Say It Media (which happens to be led by my mother).

LikeSo gives us all a private and fun way to train against verbal habits and improve speaking and presentation skills. When you speak into the app, LikeSo uses voice recognition software to listen for and count filler words and provide you with results. It also measures your pacing, for the fast or slow talker.

It was so much fun developing this app with my mom, and now we want YOU to try it too! LikeSo is now available for download in the App Store, and you can like LikeSo on Facebook and follow @LikeSoApp on Instagram and Twitter for updates!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice a presentation for class!

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