Kill Your Speed before it kills Your Speech
Speed Kills… Even In Public Speaking. Slow Down
I remember once seeing a bumper sticker with the inscription ‘Speed is fun, till it kills’ while driving on a highway. That was enough to remind me not to exceed speed limits. We all agree there is great danger in speeding while driving. Well, so it is with Public Speaking.
Dangers of Speeding Speaking Too Fast
Speaking too fast to an audience poses more danger to you as a Public Speaker than you think. On the top of the danger list is the fact that majority of those you’re speaking to will have a hard time trying to understand you. Playing catch up is not a favorite game for any audience. And all that fine speech of yours is of no gain if you can’t clearly communicate.
Here’s what happens when you speed talk, you give your audience so much work in trying to process what you’re saying, with little or no time.
It’s like anarticlewithnospacesorpunctuationsinit. Oh! That was difficult to read, right? Try this: an article with no spaces or punctuations in it. Easier, right? That’s what you do to your audience when you speak too fast. You leave out the punctuation.
You are losing the attention of your listeners fast this way. What’s worse? You’re wrecking your diction. Speed messes up your diction, as you’re not able to articulate the consonant sounds as properly as you should. This could alter the meaning of some words in the process.
You won’t make it safely to your speech’s destination at this speed. You need to slow it down, my friend.
Now time to help you kill your speed before it kills your speech. But first, you need to identify the reason behind your speaking so fast.
Why do you talk so fast?
For many, it’s because they feel nervous. As a matter of fact, speaking too fast can be perceived as nervousness. Some think it makes them sound smart, while others think they have so much to say, so they better let it out as quickly as possible. For some others, it’s communication impairment. You’ll need to consult a Speech Pathologist for this.
They were lying when they told you Talk is Cheap. An exercise that involves your abdomen muscles, throat, tongues and lips actively and simultaneously is no small deal.
Talk is serious exercise. It requires some breathing. While you speak, remember to breathe. To breathe while speaking, you must pause.
2. Observe Pauses. These Are Your Punctuations
Proper writing involves the use of punctuations (commas, full stops, exclamation marks, parenthesis, columns and semi-columns…) Observing punctuations while speaking is done by observing pauses which you can hardly do while speaking too fast.
So take short pauses between sentences. It not only makes you sound more relaxed, but also helps your audience some time to process and understand your words.
P.S: You do not have to take pauses after EVERY sentence. Do NOT take long pauses. That might get your listeners wondering if you really know what you’re doing.
3. Tap Yourself to Track
I sometimes catch myself speaking too fast. It happens to the best of us. But because I am aware of its dangers, I consciously tap myself to get back in track. I tell myself while in front of my audience, “TOLA, slow down. Slow down. They need to understand what you’re saying. You’re racing. Slow down”.
4. Speak for people to understand
Think of yourself as a teacher. Speak for people to understand. Your goal is to effectively communicate with those you are speaking to. This implies you should carry them along. So look your audience in the eye, watch out for their feedback in body language. Be involved in your speech. This will serve as a guide to keep you in the right frequency.
I hope you remember these tips when next you catch yourself speeding while talking. Speed kills, even in public speaking.
My name is TOLA and I want to see you arrive your Public Speaking destination safely, so Slow it down, and deliver that speech like a PRO!