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What’s the Rush? Finding the Perfect Rate of Speech

Have you ever listened to a speaker that flies through their presentation at a breakneck pace? What about a colleague or client who speaks so quickly, you’re exhausted by the end of the conversation, and barely remember what was said?

All too often, when people are nervous or excited or eager to convey information, they begin speaking at a rapid-fire pace, bombarding their listener. For some, this may even be their natural rate of speech. However, rushing through your words can significantly detract from your message and hurt your professional image.

When people speak too quickly, they tend to run their words into one another, making it difficult to hear where one word ends and the next begins. This can be especially problematic when using professional jargon, or speaking to a non-native English speaker. Even if you are one of those rare speakers who can articulate clearly while speaking quickly, a rushed rate of speech will still make your message much more difficult to digest. As listeners, people need time not only to process the sounds of your speech, but to internalize the information and understand how it relates to your overall message.

Speaking too quickly can also negatively impact how your listener views you. Speaking too quickly makes it seem like you’re nervous and lacking confidence. Think of all the great leaders you’ve seen speak in your professional life: chances are they take their time to drive their message home and connect with their listener. Speaking at a relaxed, even pace lets your listener know that your message has value and is worth taking the time to listen too. Speak too quickly and you risk sounding like you’re simply trying to “get it over with”.

Although you want to avoid rushing your words, you need to make sure that your speech doesn’t become dull and plodding. Keep your energy up, and rather than simply speaking in “slow motion”, include strategic pauses in your speech to drive your message home and make it clearer and simpler to absorb. At Corporate Speech Solutions, we use our original Strategic Marking SystemTM to help our clients find the perfect rate of speech. Want to hear how it’s done? Check out our podcast page, and scroll down to the episode called “Take Your Time” for a lesson in how to use our Strategic Marking SystemTM!

If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at jayne@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

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