How to slow down nervous, speedy speech

The most irritating speech habit of teenagers: They rush their words, guaranteeing their audience will have to work extra hard to understand them. Don’t be a speech adolescent!

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Most presenters suffer from rushed speaking as a result of nervousness. For an audience to fully digest what you say, aim to speak at about 140 words per minute (WPM). The late skilled presenter Steve Jobs spoke 158 WPM, while an auctioneer speaks 250-400 WPM. How can you slow down your inner auctioneer when you present? Here are a few tips:

Find your WPM

Not sure if you need to adjust your speaking speed? Use an online calculator like the Speed of Speech tool to discover your average, although keep in mind that this average will probably increase in front of an audience.

Avoid memorization

Memorizing gives you the ability to race through information, so avoid it. An unskilled Shakespearean actor will rush through the memorized text as if he or she were reading a grocery list. If you must memorize text, take a lesson from actor Jonathan Slinger who plays an incredibly slow-speaking Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2013 production.

Plan pauses

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