Sat through a speech the other day where something was clearly wrong. The speaker was agitated, and it showed. I never found out what it was, but the result to his speaking style was an increase in pace. It got worse and worse, to the point I even had trouble understanding him. This is not uncommon. As folks get frustrated or unnerved or rushed, they speed up. Non-words (ummmmm) start increasing in frequency. Feeling the need to put more content in less time, they speed up still more, and the cycle spirals out of control until not only are they hard to understand, but the thing they fear (not getting through) is moot because nothing gets through.It’s hard to train yourself otherwise, but controlling your pace is a must for a polished speaker. Many times the way to get through much material is to SLOW DOWN. You’ll speak clearer, have fewer restarts and non-words, and be able to say more with less, which should be the goal of every presenter who isn’t paid to fill a time slot. If you find yourself on the slippery slope of an increasing talking speed, take a deep breath and really concentrate on enunciation and clarity. You’re listeners will thank you. Only the slowest of talkers (and rarely folks who speak a lot) have troubles with pace in the negative direction (I’m not talking about people who can’t ever seem to get to the point, but the speed with which they talk).

Make sure your pace is such you can speak clearly and succinctly.

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