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The Art of So and Well as Fillers: Making Conversations Livelier through Natural Phrasing


Um, can you… uh, hold on a moment…” Do you sometimes notice yourself using words like “um” or “uh”? This is something many people do but little do they know that words such as “so” and “well” are even better because they sound more natural in conversation which has a different meaning. These very small words add great effects to the dialogue flow making it more flexible. In this article, we will look at the use of so and well as conversational fillers, understand their importance as well as learn how to apply them effectively.

The Art of Using 'So' and 'Well' as Fillers
The Art of Using ‘So’ and ‘Well’ as Fillers

The Function of Fillers in Conversations

Fillers may be considered unnecessary talk when first seen but they are an essential component of communication. It:

Buys Time for Thought: Fillers give a short pause for reflection without completely stopping the conversation.

Show Hesitation or Uncertainty: They silently indicate low confidence or need for time to think for answering.

Improves Speech Naturalness: Use of fillers brings about a relaxed tone with less rehearsed speech.

The Popular Ones: ‘So’ and ‘Well’

This section will look at how so and well become fillers by dissecting them into various purposes that they serve.

Using ‘So’ as a Filler

Connecting Ideas

A versatile filler is “so” which can be used to seamlessly connect ideas or pieces of information. It guides the listener if used effectively, making evident the connection between what has been said and what will be said next.


“Could it double our engagement rate if we implemented this strategy, so?”

You begin with “so” to let the reader know that there is a relationship between what you are about to say and what you have just finished, and hence make your writing flow more smoothly.

Prompting Response

At the end of a statement, “so” can also serve as an invitation for response. It makes one expect something and gives room for participation in a conversation.


“I’ve laid out the plan. So how do you find it?”

Signaling Transition

“So,” provides a natural segue when transitioning from one topic to another. It helps in keeping the conversation flowing while avoiding any sudden shift.


“Now so, moving on to our next topic; let us talk about Q4 budget distribution.”

Personal Touch: My Journey with ‘So’

When I started public speaking, I frequently relied on “um” and “uh.” A mentor advised me to replace these with “so” for a more polished delivery. Over time, this small change made my presentations feel more connected and coherent thus achieving effortless follow through by my audience.

Using ‘Well’ as a Filler

Softening Responses

Starting with “well” is one way that people respond, especially when they need a second to think or they want to say something in a polite but hesitant manner. This helps soften the impact and make it seem less direct or sudden.

For example:

‘Well’ I haven’t decided yet, but I’m leaning towards option B.

Sign of Thoughtfulness

The use of ‘well’ before someone makes a statement shows that the person is thinking about what he/she wants to say. It also adds some level of depth and sincerity in their speeches.

For instance:

“Well, that’s an interesting perspective. Let me think about how we might integrate it into our current project.”

Subtle Rejection

“On the other hand” can be used instead of “well”, as well as gently disagreeing or rejecting an idea without appearing too harsh or dismissive.

For example:

“Well, I see where you’re coming from, but I think we should explore other options as well.”

My Example: The Power of ‘Well’

When leading discussions amongst my team members who often hold varied opinions, using “well” allows me to acknowledge their input giving myself time to consider them before responding. In so doing, this has created a more inclusive and respectful working environment.

How to Use ‘So’ and ‘Well’ Effectively in Your Speech

The following are tips on how you can incorporate “so” and “well” into your daily conversations:

  1. Use Them in Low-Stakes Situations: Start incorporating these fillers into your everyday chit-chat. The more comfortable you are hearing them, the more likely you’ll be able to use them yourself.
  2. Use Them Mindfully: These fillers are helpful, but if you pepper them throughout every sentence, it may begin to sound choppy or stuttering. Use them with moderation.
  3. Listen and Imitate: We can often learn how to use “so” or “well” properly just by listening to other speakers. Find a podcast or talk show that you want to listen to and pay attention to the fillers that they use.

The Wrap-Up

Fillers like “so” and “well” do a lot more work than we give them credit for. They help us transition between thoughts, prompt responses from our conversation partners, and add a layer of thoughtful and natural speech. Master these fillers for more dynamic conversation, and everyone will think that you’re killing it on the comms, because you will be  ; ) So use them appropriately, or, well, you know…

Your Action Item: Next time you’re talking to someone, record yourself and take note of the fillers that you use. Then, try to replace “um” and “uh” with “so” and “well” when possible. Leave a comment below to let us know how it went! Can you notice a difference in your conversation flow?