Y’know it’s annoying, y’know.

What a brilliant Olympics for Team GB!! It’s been fantastic to see this year’s big names such as Max Whitlock, Laura Trott, Justin Rose and Jason Kenny puffing and panting their way to the microphone and camera seconds after clinching yet another Gold for the UK.

They’ve all done really well conveying the excitement and relief of being a world-beater after months of preparation. But others… well it’s been difficult to share the joy when, you know, every other word, you know, has been…. You know.

Most interviewees have no idea that they’ve developed a verbal tic. One interviewee I recently had started every sentence with “absolutely!” She thought she’d delivered a highly positive interview. But as soon as I pointed it out, she couldn’t bear to watch. And most people put in far more uhms and ahs than they ever think. But as soon as it’s pointed out, it makes the interview painful to watch.

Here’s a tip. It might sound ridiculously simple, but it works. Take a pen, and squeeze it. If you haven’t a pen to hand, just squeeze your thumb. The activity displacement gives your brain something to do, and helps you focus on your words. Radio presenters do this early in their careers – you didn’t think all that flow of words comes naturally did you?

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