If You Do Nothing Else To Improve Your Presentations, Do This!

Effective communicators pay attention to the speed at which they speak. They know that if they talk at a “million miles an hour,” their colleagues will struggle to understand the message. No listener will work that hard to follow your message. 

In addition, whenever you feel nervous and rush through your words, you are much more likely to fall back on filler sounds (um/ah, etc.) This occurs because your brain tries to keep up with your tongue, so you insert a filler word to buy yourself time while organizing your next thought.

Tip for how to speak slower:

  • Start by being conscious of your habit, and watch for those times you speed up. If you notice while talking, you can say: “I am speaking too fast, let me slow down,” or you can ask a colleague to signal when your pacing starts racing. 
  • Practice taking a breath every 8-10 words. If you wait longer, you will end up needing to suck in a deep breath.
  • Breathe in with your mouth slightly open. Watch that your shoulders don’t rise and fall; your belly should expand and deflate.
  • Elongate your vowels. Simply by stretching the vowels in your speech, you will slow your pace.
  • Enunciate the consonants, especially those at the end of a word.

Pro Tip: practice by talking at the same rate at which you write. If you speak the words you are writing (or typing), you will force yourself to slow down.