Power Presentations Tip 56: Speak Slower

Speak slower when presenting
Speaking Fundamental: Speak Slower

This is an important public speaking fundamental yet I was reluctant to bring it to your attention. Why? Because it is so fundamental. But I've noticed that many of us need to be reminded of the fundamentals from time to time.

I watched an experienced and capable speaker at a conference. I stopped listening early in his presentation because it was too difficult to keep up with his rapid patter. I tuned out and missed most of his speech.

Naturally I was impressed that he asked me for constructive feedback after his presentation. He didn't say, "How was I?" Instead he asked, "How might I improve?" That's the sign of a concerned professional.

His biggest error was that he spoke too quickly. I suggested that he slow down - a lot. That would make it easier for the translator to translate his words (we were speaking at a foreign conference). It would also allow the audience to hear and digest his words while thinking about the ideas, and it would help listeners to identify the key learning points.

The next day he spoke much slower. His presentation was better received. He was fabulous. All it took was for him to speak slower.

I read about a trial lawyer who suffered a massive stroke. He had to totally relearn how to speak. His impossible goal was to return to the court room. He endured and he returned to presenting in the court room. One of his lessons was that he was more persuasive by speaking more slowly.

In the movie, The King's Speech, you might have noticed that when King George VI delivers his first radio speech he spoke slowly with dramatic pauses - because he had to. Yet, those two techniques made his speech more dramatic and thus more effective.

When you speak in public - speak slower than you normally would. You will sound more confident. You will be better heard. You will be better understood.

Got something worth saying? Slow down.

George Torok

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