By Ela Britchkow, Speech Therapist, American Accent Specialist
"Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed."
Speech rate is the term given to the speech at which you speak. Slow speech is usually regarded as less than 110 words per minute. Conversational speech generally falls between 120 wpm at the slow end to 160-200 wpm in the fast range. People who read books for radio podcasts are often asked to speak at 150-160 wpm. The best way to determine your speaking rate is to.....
time yourself giving a speech in front of a real audience. Using a video of your speech will help because you can count your words. If you are anywhere close to the range of speakers analyzed above (133-138 words/minute) then you’re fine. Non-native American speakers who are Japanese and Spanish have the fastest speech rate. The slowest language is Mandarin followed closely by German.
WHY should I slow down my speech?
Generally people are not conscious of their habitual speaking speed if they are understood by those listening to them, then there is little reason to change. However, someone with naturally fast speech who takes a job requiring presentations to colleagues or customers, will find themselves having to slow down in order to communicate effectively.
If people frequently ask you to repeat what you said, it may be because you said it too quickly and they missed what you are trying to express. If the people around you speak at a rapid rate, then this can become habitual. Sometimes people speak quickly because they’re afraid they’re going to forget what they wanted to say or they want to get it over with. If you speak too fast, your listeners have to put in an extra effort to understand what you are saying. If they have to work too hard to understand you, they will eventually lose interest and tune you out.
I know very few people who speak considerably too slow, but many who speak too fast. Because of the common tendency to put too much content into our presentations, we tend to speak at a blazing speed to get through it all. So, in general, slow down!
HOW can I slow down?
If you need to give a presentation, interview for a new job, introduce yourself at a networking event, you may feel nervous. When people feel nervous they tend to rush through what they are trying to say. This is the time to remember the techniques above and use them.
When speaking rapidly is a habit, you will also need additional techniques to help you remember to slow down.
For expert training to help slow down your speech rate, gain confidence and become an effective communicator, consider the individual lessons and American accent software we offer.
Thanks for reading my post about slowing down your speech rate to be better understood.. If you have any questions let me know.
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Are you repeatedly asked, “What?” or “Can you say that again?”
By Ela Britchkow, Speech and Language Pathologist
©2018 Ela Britchkow