Refining Your Speaking Skills: The Importance of Speech Speed
If listeners ask, “Would you repeat it?” Often, or look back with glassy and incomprehensible expressions, you may be speaking at too fast or too slow a pace.
Typically, the speed of speech becomes a problem when the listener does not understand the message. When speaking to others, speed of speech is critical to holding the audience’s attention. Listeners not only need to hear the words that are being said, they must then translate those words into meaningful context.
Talking too fast is a common speech problem. Most of us tend to speed up our speech when we are excited or stressed. As a result, the listener can no longer process the content and will eventually give up. Therefore, most of your message will be lost as a direct consequence.
Speaking too slowly is less common, but can still distract the listener. In this case, the listener may have too much time to process and may well start to focus on other, more interesting things. Again, much of your message will be lost.
The volume of your voice, or how low or loud you speak, can directly affect the way a speaker is perceived. Verbal tone, or how high or low your voice is presented, is also an important tool in gaining audience interest. But it is the speed of speech that is crucial to holding the audience’s attention.
Average speech rates are on the order of 120 to 140 words per minute. The rate is faster in some places, like New York City, and slower in others. What matters less is how many words a speaker can pronounce, but more about how many of those words are understood by the listener. Varying the speed at which words are spoken can be an effective technique, but as a general rule, slower than fast.
If you often find yourself speaking too fast, here are several techniques to slow down your speech:
• Start by breathing slowly and deeply. This can be a relaxation method that will help focus the mind and dissipate some of the nervous energy.
• Focus on the enunciation. Our speech will be clearer and easier to understand if our enunciation is correct and the possible difficulty in pronouncing syllables or incorrect pronunciation of words in accelerated speech is avoided.
• Focus on phrasing. Our speech is made up of sentences and sentences, and punctuation tells us how the information should be expressed. On the contrary, speaking too fast always runs the risk of continuous sentences that can suddenly turn into a continuous verbal blur that confuses and confuses.
• Find natural breaks that allow the listener to catch up. By giving the listener a chance to keep up, catch up, or briefly reflect on the message, the listener’s attention is much more likely to be held from beginning to end.
Remember, practice can improve the speed of your speech and ultimately increase the overall effectiveness of a message.