Speaking fast vs talking slow

When it comes to our habits of speaking, pace is one of the great influencers. It can create or destroy power of our message.

What is better?

Short answer to that question is: Speaking slow is better. Of course it is a general rule. It applies up to about 70% of times.

You see, people who aren’t comfortable in social situations want to throw information as fast as possible. We fear that if we slow down we’ll be interrupted and never given “the floor” again. When it comes to meeting new people or giving public speeches our brains deal with the fear of unknown and fear of being excluded from social circle. And the sole asset we have – information could not be “sold”.

Second group of people who are speaking too fast are visual thinkers (and this more often than not combines with being nervous). It is true that image tells story 1000 words strong. One thought of visual thinker is a lot of information to share. Look even at the sizes of digital files – one that contains an image, and one that contains words. To translate that one image into information using even advanced technology would take stupendous time. So visual thinkers pace themselves, because they have this much information to share.

For this two groups – majority of us all – advice is 1/3 slower minimum. Up to a half. With practice of using pauses and proper intonation of sentences and accents you won’t be interrupted. And to effectively share your vision it has to sink in. Otherwise it will be dismissed by intuitive mind of your audience.

What with people that talk too slow?

It rarely is the case. Take the person you are sure is speaking too slow and tell me this: Is his/her intonation well rounded or flat? Or every sentence ends up intonated like question would be (high pitch at the end? Is his/her speech rhythmically monotonic? And last but not least, is she/he animated while speaking? Meaning: using gestures, facial expressions, drawing the picture with body as well as the content. 

Obviously there is some percentage of sluggish pacers. No question. But “speak faster” would never be my first advice.

-          Przemek Kucia

Please, share and like if you liked it. And tell me: do you tend to speak too fast while facing challenging social situations? I definitely am. Take care!