08: Six Tips for Slow Talkers to Speed Up!

Are you a slow talker? Do you drag out your words or sentences, take lots of long pauses, or require an excess amount of time to get to the point? Here are several tips on how to speed up your speech and vary your pacing so it has variety.
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Are You a Slow Talker?
Last episode, we addressed ways to slow down fast talkers. In this episode, the opposite group of slow speakers gets their due. Let’s explore ways to keep the message moving at a faster pace so the audience stays engaged and interested in the brilliance of what you have to say.

One of my favorite ‘slow’ scenes in a movie is in Zootopia. It takes place at the DMV with Flash, the ultra slow moving sloth. It humorously illustrates the frustration of needing something quickly when movement and speech is performed at a snail’s… or rather, a sloth’s pace.

The reason for slow speech and long pauses is varied. It could be the result of a medical condition, stress, regional speech pattern, learning a new language, slower pace of life, exhaustion, or natural formulation and delivery of thoughts processing speed. As I’m not qualified to address medical conditions, we’ll focus on business and relationship conversational speed issues which include dragging out each word or sentence, pausing too long or too frequently, and taking an excess amount of time to get to the point. As a result, the listener may get bored, lose interest, snap or twirl their finger as an indication to pick up the pace, or complete the speaker’s sentences.

BAM!

In the early days of celebrity chef cooking shows, Emeril Lagasse found his signature expression “BAM!.” After several days of shooting multiple show episodes, the film crew started getting tired. To wake them up he tossed a spice into the dish and shouted, “BAM!.” That attention grabbing expression worked.

Talking Faster

If you need to pick up the pace, here are 6 tips to talk faster.

  1. Energize the body by jumping up and down and laughing to get the blood and oxygen flowing.
  2. Walk quickly to the location where you’re going to speak.
  3. If it’s not a distraction, point your index fingers together and rotate them in a circular manner. The faster the rotation, the faster you will talk.
  4. Care less. Pressure of perfection and significance can slow the pace. Shrug it off and trust that what you’re going to say is okay.
  5. Vary your pace. Use an attention grabbing statement at the beginning, slow down on important points, and quickly throw away information that people already know.
  6. Develop your own attention grabbing signature movement, word, or sound to spice things up when attention starts waning.

Practice Assignment #8: Speed Up Your Talking Pace

Throughout this Real Talking Tips series, we’re going to work on numerous ways to improve speech and pacing. For right now, let’s practice each of these speech speed-up tips.

Grab a book, magazine, junk mail flyer, or anything with a paragraph or more of words. With your phone or other video or audio device, record or video yourself reading 30-60 seconds of that material. Then, record yourself after jumping up and down and laughing; sitting in a different location, getting up and walking quickly to the area where you’re going to read; rotating both your index fingers; changing tempo; and saying or doing something dramatic to grab attention.

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