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, what comes out is a shaky and “um”-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 “um.” The anxiety that comes along with these situations increases the use of these filler words and can make it difficult to perform at the level that we know we are capable of.

As a student at Fairfield, I am more familiar with this anxious feeling than I would 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 for 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 compulsory filler words that are tainting the way that we speak.

“We all want to speak in a way that compels others to listen,” says Say It Media, Inc. and LikeSo 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 at Fairfield, 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. Among all of the 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, which is crucial in all aspects of a successful life.

LikeSo is available in the Apple store for only 99 cents and can be easily downloaded. 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.” We have amazing technology in our lives today, and we really should be putting it toward constructive use in our everyday lives.

LikeSo may be the key for college students to overcome the fear of these stressful 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 in all aspects of life, we really can conquer anything.

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