Speaking Too Fast


A common problem for speakers who are new to public speaking and even for some veteran speakers is a tendency to speak too quickly or to try to cram too much information into the average 5 to 7 minute speech.  Outside the Toastmaster setting, speaking too quickly can result in the speaker being misunderstand, ignored or asked to repeat the information.


Here are some tips to help you prepare, and deliver, your Toastmaster speeches:


  • Word Count: the average speech rate is 120 – 140 words per minute.  120 is considered medium whereas a rate near 200 words per minute is considered fast.  When you write you speech, check out its timing by using the Word Count function; in Microsoft Word, it is located under “Tools”.


  • Stop Watch: a stopwatch is a great investment, although any watch with a stop watch function will do.  Practise your speech at a normal conversational rate with pauses and aim to be under the allotted time.  Remember to allow time for gestures and stage movements.


  • Record Yourself: again, practise your speech a few times using a recording device.


  • Eye Contact: speak directly to members of the audience and make eye contact as if you were explaining the point or telling your story to each individual.  This will slow down your speech to a normal conversational rhythm and rate.


  • Enlist Others: if you know you have a tendency to speak too quickly, enlist someone to give you discrete indications when you are going too fast.  Before the meeting, ask your Evaluator to comment on your speech rate.


For more information check out the Toastmaster booklet “Your Speaking Voice” for more tips on adding strength and authority to your voice.

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