Any extraneous language that pads your sentences without adding any additional meaning is a crutch word. They are also called Fillers because instead of using key pauses to let the audience digest what you are saying, they are filled with empty words that weaken the overall message. Using crutch words can take away from the forcefulness and eloquence of your speech. People use crutch words because they have been around since the beginning of spoken language. Every person uses them on some scale and they vary depending on location and language! Transitions can easily become crutch words if the presenter is not careful. Be strategic on how transition words such as and then, and so, so, then, and, also.
Crutch words can indicate that the speaker is in trouble, a moment is needed to plan what next. They happen when we think and speak at the same time or act as placeholders so the audience knows you will continue speaking. Excessive use of crutch words can indicate that the presenter doubts what is being said. Crutch words can also appear before non-answers, “ umm I don’t know” or answers you doubt.
The Best strategy for exterminating crutch words is to delete them from everyday use. Be aware of when you use them and think about what you say before you say it. Keep sentences simple and short. Don’t fear the pauses, silence is something that people naturally want to avoid, but pauses give you the chance to think and your audience the chance to digest. Practice and let your next sentence flow effortlessly.