Research demonstrates that immediate feedback is effective for speech instruction (King, Young & Behnke, 2000; Smith & King, 2004). However, feedback interventions can be a double-edged sword depending on the type of feedback and performance task (see Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). Thus, given the mixed effects reported in feedback intervention research, the present studies examined an immediate feedback intervention aimed at reducing distracting filler words during public speeches in a classroom setting as well as how the intervention impacted state/trait anxiety and self-perceived communication competence.

Results from study one indicate that immediate feedback effectively reduces filler word use during speeches in initial exposures and does not adversely impact state and trait anxiety, or self-perceived communication competence. Results from study two, in which immediate feedback was implemented over the duration of an entire course, demonstrate that in initial exposures, participants receiving immediate feedback used less than half the number of filler words as those not receiving immediate feedback during speeches. In addition, participants across all conditions reported significantly lower trait and state speech anxiety as well as significantly higher self-perceived public speaking competence.

The pedagogical implications of these findings and recommendations for speech teachers are discussed in this report.