top of page

Public Speaking Exercises: The Erm Police

The Erm Police Exercise is a fun and engaging way to help business professionals improve their public speaking skills. The exercise is designed to help participants speak clearly and effectively, without having to worry about the content of their speech.

The goal is to minimize the use of filler words, such as "erm," and to speak confidently and persuasively. The winner of the game is the participant who said "erm" the least number of times.


  1. Divide the participants into groups of three, but any size group can work.

  2. Collect 100+ words and put them into a box, bag, or hat.

  3. Participants decide who will be the player, the timer, and the "erm police."

  4. The player picks two cards and has one minute to tell a story that connects both words together. The story does not have to be long, complicated, or true.

  5. The timer keeps track of how long the player has been speaking, indicating the half-way point and 10 seconds to go.

  6. The "erm police" records how many times the player says "erm."

  7. Participants rotate the roles until everyone has had a turn speaking. The winner is the participant who said "erm" the least number of times. The atmosphere of the activity should be relaxed and friendly.

  8. Once the participants are comfortable with connecting two words, add more words to the collection and increase the number of cards selected to three or even four. You can also increase the time limit to two minutes.

Best Wishes

Mark Westbrook - Public Speaking Coach - Glasgow, Scotland.


bottom of page