Rate of Speech


Carmen Canty




Speaking too quickly during a presentation is a common problem.




1) When speaking in public, one's anxiety level may increase resulting in

talking faster than normal.

2) Speaking fast during a presentation can cause the audience to

understand less and feel as if the presentation is being rushed.




---        Practice. Practice your presentation enough so you are comfortable

with the material.  Practice in front of an audience of your choice.

---        Tape yourself. Listening to the tape and seeing if you are

speaking too quickly according to your standards can help you.

---        Time yourself. Timing yourself before the actual presentation, or

predetermining how long your presentation should take, may help you.  If

you know you have 20 minutes to talk you may not feel rushed and can


---        Use a time keeping apparatus during the presentation. Pacing

yourself using a time keeping apparatus can help.

---        Force yourself to slow your rate of speech using alternative





            Over practicing could result in you sounding robot-like and

monotone.  Over practicing could also result in an extreme comfort level

that becomes conducive to ad-libbing which can take away from your



Known Uses:


            I have taped myself before.  Listening to yourself on tape may not

be a fun experience, but you hear how you sound to others.  I correct

quick speech and the number of "Ummm"s in my presentation using this

method.  I saw a Power Point presentation that used a meter. This program

has time keeping settings that can help you pace yourself.  A problem

result if the audience is so interested in your meter they are not

listening to you. Again, alternate methods can include anything that helps

you slow down while speaking.  One example, told to me by a friend, is to

place a pencil behind your teeth right before a presentation and talk with

this in your mouth.  This will have you speaking slower just in time for

you to present and has no permanent effects.




            It is always important to present your information in a fashion

that keeps the audience and you comfortable.  Most people are comfortable

with a certain number of words a minute (@ 160, I think).  Increasing that

rate could cause your audience to feel rushed or to sense your