I was teaching an advanced presentation skills workshop for a general contractor recently and two of my students were speedy with their verbal delivery, reminding me of that old cartoon character Speedy Gonzales.

Usually when people speak very quickly it is generally as a result of these things:

  1. They want to get through their presentation as quickly as possible.
  2. They have crammed too much content into the time allotted.
  3. They have too much energy and excitement they cannot manage the presentation delivery.
  4. They are nervous.

When a presenter speaks too quickly, the following things happen:

  1. You lose your audience because they can’t keep up.
  2. Your audience gets confused and checks out.
  3. You become monotone and and your verbal delivery is un-compelling

I described it the impact this way to my two Speedy Gonzales students:

“When you speak too quickly, it is like you are taking a giant cookie and shoving down someone’s throat.  Instead, you want to allow them to take a bite, savor it, swallow it and breathe before taking another bite.  Don’t shove the cookie, let them enjoy it.”

If you or someone you know has a tendency to speak too quickly, here are some things you can do:

  1. Feel each word as it is expressed through your mouth.  This way, words come out individually as opposed to in clumps with rapid speech.
  2. Pause often.
  3. Breathe into you abdomen rather than shallow breathing just in your chest.  This will help minimize the body’s fight or flight response.
  4. Add vocal variation and inflection and hear the sounds that accompany the words your voice creates, savor the words so your audience will too.
  5. Practice slowing down in every day conversation so that you will be able to do it in a presentation.

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1 Comment

  1. Dan says:

    Good advise! Whats the old saying? Your mouth can’t catch up to your !!!

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