Can Your Audience Understand Your Message? Not if you speak too fast.
Are you speaking too quickly? It can happen unconsciously. Sometimes public speaking can trigger an adrenaline rush. You might feel charged with energy or a bit nervous.
If you’re speaking too quickly, you are likely to lose your audience. You jeopardize the overall success of your message.
Even If You Are a Disney Fan…Don’t
For some speakers, speaking too quickly is coupled with a rise in voice pitch which makes even a knowledgeable speaker sound like Minnie Mouse.
Pay attention to audience feedback. If one person reports a problem with understanding you, this may be an individual perception or opinion. But if several do, you need to time yourself.
Use this test.
First, record a casual conversation with a friend. Then, compare the number of words per minute to a recording of one of your recent speaking presentations.
Ask yourself, “Did I deliberately speed up my presentation to meet a time constraint?” If you did, maybe you were trying to include too much material. If this is true, you need to cut your presentation, editing for clarity, specificity, and emotional connection. Shorter is more memorable and more quotable.
Then ask yourself, “Do I always speak quickly? Or just when I am giving a speech?” If so, you need to slow down your delivery.
Warm-Up Before You Enter
Start to pace yourself before you even hit the podium. As you are putting together your remarks or developing your presentation consider the logical places to slow down.
It is actually okay to speak fairly rapidly as long as you leave yourself room for pauses and silence. The faster you talk, the longer your pauses should be.
Give the audience time to digest what you have just said.
For example, if you say something profound or suggest something like, “Consider the proposal in front of you,” you are asking the audience to think. Give them time to do so.
Finally, here is an excellent slow-down exercise to help you.
Practice delivering your speech. Pause for one second at a comma, two seconds at the end of a sentence, and three seconds after a paragraph. (You can count the seconds the same way you did as a child, saying “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi… ” silently to yourself.) Then, breathe and smile!
You Can Become a Powerful Presenter. It is Easy, Quick, Convenient
Become a great presenter quickly, easily, and cost-effectively on your own schedule. I’m here for you 24/7 through Fripp Virtual Training.
“I wanted a super bowl-quality coach, and I was lucky to be introduced to Patricia Fripp. Her help in coaching and scripting was world-class. With Patricia Fripp on your team, you can go places.”
– Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author
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More on Presentation Delivery
Here are just a few more of the many complimentary resources on Fripp.com to help you deliver successful presentations:
- Why Is Eye Contact Important? How Long? When?
- Three Ways to Emotionally Connect with Your Audience
- Make Sure Your Movement Supports Your Message
- Is Your Audience Hearing What You Want to Communicate?
- Do You Alienate Your Audience? Make A “You” Turn
- Want to Be An Effective Speaker? Say No More . . . Pause!
Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.