Think You Speak Too Fast? Try Pausing

“Everyone tells me that I talk too fast.”

We hear that all the time from our clients.  But the solution isn’t to speak slower. Most “fast talkers” really just need to  throw in some pauses.

Many people are told that they speak too fast. But no one speaks so fast that they can’t be understood. The fastest speakers speak around 175 to 180 words per minute.  The human ear can perceive over 300 words a minute. 

When people speak too fast, usually that means that they speak in a continuous uninterrupted stream, never letting the audience digest the ideas. Pausing gives your listeners a chance to catch up with you. 

Pause for two to three seconds. In our workshops, we have clients read the following phrase:

“A pause shows poise  . . . control . . .  confidence  .  . . . use it  . . . master it.” 

And we urge participants to hold the pause longer than it feels comfortable.  Even a short pause can seem very long if you’re not used to pausing.

Whatever you do, however, don’t actually slow down your rate of speech. Slow speakers tend to sound dull and tentative.  Fast talkers have energy.

And energy is a good thing so long as there are some pauses to help the audience digest your ideas.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email