This app will save you from saying 'like' over and over at your next interview

Need, like, a grammar reboot? This app cleans up your speech
Need, like, a grammar reboot? This app cleans up your speech

If it's time to sound professional, it might be time to hone your speaking skills.

Luckily, there's an app for that.

The newly redesigned and aptly named LikeSo helps users drop filler words from their vocabulary, including "like," "so," "actually" and "whatever," by tracking just how often they're used in speech.

The data it gathers help provide an overall score for users to judge their progress and figure out which words they overuse.

The idea came to fruition just in time for the app's founder, Audrey Mann Cronin, who says her teenage son and daughter were starting to exhibit the same speaking patterns that she had seen plague so many careers over her 25 years as a communications consultant in consumer technology.

LikeSo | CNBC

"My co-founder, who had worked at Facebook, commented about how he worked with these three wonderful women, but cringed when they spoke because they didn't sound as confident or as smart as they are," she says.

"As a female in tech I've been cognizant of that, and that's what this is all about — to provide a tool to help build confidence, because being a good communicator is probably the single greatest skill to help us get ahead in life."

The app, which costs 99 cents, peaked when LikeSo debuted last March as the fourth-most-popular paid download. It recently added new tools to help track improvement and partnered with the National Speech & Debate Association.

LikeSo offers two modes, one that allows users to talk freestyle and another that prompts speakers with 30-second timed questions.
LikeSo | CNBC

Research is split over whether men or women on average use filler words more frequently when speaking, though one Canadian study conducted in 2000 did confirm the perception that women tend to use "like" more often. The study shows that a speaker's use of "like" is associated with seeming more cheerful and friendly. It also makes the speaker appear less educated, though not necessarily less intelligent.

And a 2014 University of Texas at Austin analysis of 263 transcriptions across five studies suggests a link between using filler words and conscientious behavior. Researchers find that phrases such as "I mean" and "you know" can demonstrate that someone is trying to make sure they're being understood.

LikeSo lists out all the times a speaker used filler words individually so users know which words might be repeat offenders.
LikeSo | CNBC

Mann Cronin hints that future updates could track "ums" and "uhs" as well as pauses. She notes that while the app does grade you on how well you avoid filler words, critiquing how anyone speaks isn't the goal.

"It's not so much about the messaging, but how it's delivered and having confidence in what you're saying," she says. "I got a comment from a student who told me she suffers from speech anxiety and that this app helped change her high school career.

"If I can help just one kid, that's huge."

— Video by CNBC's Mary Stevens

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