The rate in which you speak could be hindering your communication. Do you know why?
This post is in a response to an article called, “How to Look and Sound More Confident”, by Rose Leadem on entrepreneur.com. Great stuff (has other great articles as well that are worthy to read); however, I wanted to comment on the rate of speaking to help one sound more confident, according to one of her sources. Her quote was, “In fact, it’s recommended to speak so slowly that it feels like a ‘snail’s pace.’” I thought this statement needed a little more in-depth review and clarity.
I don’t think that the expert meant for you to do this in actual conversation. Matt Farnsworth of Vocal Studios was recommending to perhaps slow down to sound more confident if you tend to speak too fast. This came from an article titled, “Listen Up! 8 Small Changes to Sound More Confident”, at greatest.com. Mr. Farnsworth has been teaching voice since 1995 when he became the consulting coach on Broadway’s production of “Rent”. (If you have not seen “Rent” I highly recommend it!)
My interpretation of what he said is that if you need to slow down, and you do, you might feel like you are speaking at a snail’s pace, when in fact, others hear a normal rate of speed. Here is the actual quote when referring to slowing down to sound more confidence.
“This advice (to slow down) seems obvious until you realize how unnatural it feels for most of us to speak slowly, says Matt Farnsworth, a voice coach and owner of Matt Farnsworth Vocal Studios. Even when you feel like you’re speaking at a snail’s pace, chances are you sound totally normal to the rest of the people in the room. We tend to rush our speech when we’re nervous, and frustratingly, that’s usually the time we’re trying to get something important across. Slowing down can also help cut out filler words (“um” and “like”) that undermine authority with the sound of uncertainty.”
I totally agree with the statement. In my new book coming out in May 2018, I talk about the speed or lack thereof, when speaking with others. It is really about one being able to comprehend when they are speaking. Here is an excerpt from the book.
“The speed in which one speaks can also have an impact on how others perceive someone. Speaking too fast can make others think one is nervous or has low self-esteem. On the other hand, speaking too slow can make others think one is not interested or bored. Pausing during the conversation can have great impact on a message. Pauses often trigger one to stop and listen so they can be a great attention grabber. Hence the phrase “Silence is Golden.” It’s also important to match the “pace” of the conversation with others. For example, if one speaks quickly one may want to pick up the pace or vice versa. “
When speaking, it’s more about the amount of words that one can comprehend when listening to others. Here is another statement I make in the book.
“Speaking between 160-200 words a minute is the ideal speed. An average of 180 words per minute is recommended to keep your listeners interested, allowing them to better comprehend the message.”
Referring to the snail’s pace, I think that is a great way to learn to slow down if you are a fast talker. If you practice speaking more slowly then it can help you slow down when in normal conversation, but I don’t; however, recommend you doing it in “live” conversation. If you don’t believe me, try it and see what happens;-).
Here is an exercise I recommend in the book to help you test the rate of speed in which you speak. I hope that it helps you to become a better communicator.
Practice the paragraph below and time yourself to discover your normal speaking rate. Ideally, you should read aloud the following 187 words within a minute. If your speech pattern is too slow or too fast, you need to be conscious when speaking with others and modify your speed. This may take some getting used to, but it will pay off.
“Everything I do, everything I say, everything I represent, everything I associate myself with, creates an emotional connection with others. It is other’s thoughts, feelings, and associations held within one’s mind that impacts my Personal Brand.
I manage my Personal Brand so that I can consciously manage my career by developing and enhancing the three elements that impacts my Personal Brand: Visibility, Image, and Performance. On a daily basis, one element may be more relevant or critical than another; however, one has more impact in building my Personal Brand and has enormous influence in helping me go beyond the ordinary, and that is Visibility.
I have great skills that contribute to building my Personal Brand which help maintain current business opportunities and secure future business engagements. In addition, this process will help ensure that I am well compensated for the value of the services and products that I provide.
Building a Personal Brand is a continuous development process. It is important that I manage how I am represented so that others can see my authentic self. Each day I move forward in building my brand.”
Parker’s book will be released the week of May 2018.
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