LESSON 7: tics

Storytelling Education - Lesson 7

Eliminating Subconscious Tics

Lesson 7 in this education series deals with the elimination of subconscious tics. We start by defining and describing tics and finish will techniques for eliminating them.

What are Subconscious Tics

Subconscious tics are those repetitive behaviour either verbal or non-verbal that are performed involuntarily.

Tics are generally repetitive in nature, and often act as a ‘safety blanket’ – something that our mind falls back on as a source of comfort or security we are unsure exactly how to act. Often they are a ‘gap fill’.

A non-exhaustive list of the way tics can exhibit:

Repetitive intonation

This is very annoying to listen to.

    • Voice swinging up in pitch at the end of every sentence as if they were always asking questions

Repetitive use of “word x”

    • “like”
    • “you know”
    • “So”
    • “um/ah”

Repetitive body action / movement

    • Excessive moments
    • Touching nose
    • Scratching head
    • Coughing / clearing throat

Eliminating Tics

The elimination of tics, relies on bringing them into conscious attention.

This firstly means practice! But it means that you will mostly likely need a form of feedback.

Film yourself

The best form of feedback in video. This will give you the ability to both see and hear yourself, and will really allow you to make the changes you want. The best case scenario is to film you telling your story in front of friends or family and ask them to film.

Use a voice recorder

Second best is audio recording via a voice recorder or smart phone app. Audio will again give the opportunity to hear your voice as others will. It will allow you to pick up on tone, repetition and any possible tics. Also, it will allow you to hone your delivery into something you are proud of.

Charge per tic

Third option is to get a friend to count the tics over the delivery of your story. Once you have tics identified, add money to the mix and have them charge you for each offence. Having to pay for mistakes will very quickly eliminate them.

Be more conscious

Fourth is to practice slowing down your speech and pause when you feel like you would normally say “um/ah, etc…” Ground yourself and go steady. When you relive any mental pressure to “hurry” and you are focused on being clear and concise, you will eliminate these small tics easily.

We recommend that the best way is to ask a friend or family member to film you and to practice in front of them.


In Lesson 7, we have introduced subconscious tics, described some examples and give methods to identify and eliminate them.

Elimination requires Feedback

  1. Film yourself
  2. Use a voice recorder
  3. Ask a friend to count and charge you for tics
  4. Be more conscious