Sunday, December 4, 2011
Do you speak too quickly?
There's a good chance you do─it's nearly epidemic today! You can get a variety of unwanted reactions from your listeners. They may think you want them to HURRY UP and decide you're rude. Or, they may succumb to emotional deafness─the inability to hear or comprehend what we're saying. You may have experienced this when someone YELLS at you, or stands too close or swears at you. Aggressive people use these ploys to intimidate and while the speedy talker may not intend to, they can cause the same reaction.
Check yourself and see how you do. The following passage is 140 words in length. The average speaking rate of Americans is 125 – 150 wpm. Read it out loud as though you were speaking to someone ten feet away—building in the appropriate pauses. You’re aiming for it to take you a minute to read the paragraph. Time yourself and see how you do:
There is no set rule for the rate of speaking of individuals. Some people can speak at a rate of one hundred ninety words per minute and be clearly understood, while others must speak as slowly as ninety words per minute to achieve the same understanding. Most experts feel, however, that there is more to be gained by speaking slowly. They have decided that a rate of about one hundred forty words per minute is a safe rate. The main disadvantage of speaking too fast is that you cannot be understood easily. Speaking too fast has other disadvantages. Your audience may get the impression that they are being pressured into something. In addition, they may get the impression that you are very rushed and concerned with time. To be really understood, we recommend that you speak slowly.
It's a hurry up, hurry up world and sometimes we need to slo-o-o-ow down rather than speed up so we can be heard─and understood.