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Are you a fast talker? Do you cram so many words per minute into your speech that your audience is left scratching their heads? When you talk too fast it can cause significant problems both for you and your audience. Most of all you don't get your amazing, inspirational point across.
We all develop habits - not just how fast we talk but things like how quickly you walk, whether you cut up all your food before you eat, tapping your nails on the table when you're thinking. We fall back into those habits easily. The solution? Create new habits! Change the fact that you talk too fast. Yes it's possible. Talking too fast can be caused by having a flight of ideas
that sprint through your mind too quickly to be properly articulated.
The difference between rookie speakers and experts is their use of gaps and pauses. Newbies will quickly get off stage by talking quickly, whereas experts use powerful pacing. Whether you're nervous, excited, or just quickly glossing over your material because it's the boring 'facts' stuff - you're losing your audience. How do you know this? By looking at your audience of course! Are they nodding and giving you eye contact? Are they struggling to keep up by exhibiting uncomfortable facial gestures, taking frantic notes, or leaning way forward to try to listen? Pay attention to the cues. If you find you're going to fast, create a few gaps.
Fast talking is perceived as nervousness and low self-confidence. When you talk too fast it can make you appear as if you're rushing through 'to just get it over with' or that your speech is not important. It's not the best practice to present yourself as if you think people don't want to listen to you!
If you’re just speaking to ‘take up time’, it will feel rather pointless – and no wonder you’ll want to rush through it. There is too much meaningless or ego-centric speaking out there anyway, so why add to it? But if you have a good reason to speak you will be willing to take up the time and space of your audience. A good reason to speak might be:
- Youhave some information that would benefit your audience
- You could improve their day a little bitthrough your energy
- You have a new perspective that hasn’t been heard before
- People will be more comfortable if you show leadership
- They want to hear you speak, even if you don’t want it!
When we’re nervous, we tend to hide in some way; through shrinking our body language, or rushing through our material. It’s all ways of saying ‘I’m not important enough.’
Once you’ve found your reason for speaking, it’s time to assert it through your body language and vocal delivery. Bring your awareness to some of the following:
What I realised was that the more we try to be someone else as a speaker – the more we lose what makes us appealing in our own way. I found the Six Qualities of an Inspiring Speaker… read more about them here.
Time can play funny tricks on us when we're speaking. We're excited, nervous, trying to remember our lines... it's no wonder we don't notice how quickly we're speaking.
Give yourself permission to experiment. We don’t all start at the same place. The very best job you can do is bring that charisma you have when you’re one-on-one and inject it into your public speaking. You know you’ve got “it”… it’s just about practicing fearlessness and bringing it to several-on-one. Remember that your audience wants to hear what you have to say and that our own worst enemy is ourselves.
Learn the art of speaking with power and confidence that will allow you to wow your audience, in our free master class video series from Ginger's founder Sarah Lloyd-Hughes.Begin Part 1 Now!