App of the Week – Ummo

Published on November 10, 2016

For some of us, there’s nothing more nerve-wracking than speaking in front of a large crowd. For others, social anxiety makes phone calls tricky. Some of us even have trouble piping up in meetings. And when we do open our mouths, the nervousness and anxiety about speaking can lead to plenty of stammering, stuttering, and “filler words” – such as “like,” “you know,” and the dreaded “um.”

For anyone looking to speak more confidently, clearly, or succinctly in a business or academic setting, Ummo is here to help.

Billing itself as a “personal speech coach,” Ummo allows you to set a personal speech regimen and stick to it. Simply add any filler words or phrases you want to track, then record yourself speaking. From there, Ummo will give you a “report card” with tons of handy feedback on your presentation, including your pace, volume, clarity, as well as the number of appearances of your unconscious filler words, phrases, and pauses.

While the speech analysis app has gained lots of support – including this glowing review from Lifehacker – it has also come under criticism from outlets such as Slate, which have taken the culture of “speech improvement apps” to task for being condescending and classist.

But if you’re interested in refining and clarifying your own speech patterns – or getting over that public speaking anxiety – Ummo is still worth a try for yourself. You can download the filler word killer to your iOS devices for just $1.99.

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