So you find yourself talking too fast sometimes, huh? Here’s the good news: You’re not alone. Most people speak too fast, at least sometimes in their lives.
But here comes the bad news: It happens most when the stakes are high. Yup. When you need to deliver your message in the most eloquent, smashing way is when you start to screw up.
Why do you talk so fast in high-stake situations?
Well, it’s no mystery. It’s because you want something out of those situations. The more you want it, the more your body goes into fight-or-flight.
Granted, some folks speak too quickly in all speaking situations, but they may find they speed up even more when they’re in high-pressure situations.
Stay with my here:
Did you ever notice that your bad speaking habits happen in high-stakes situations? When you’re comfy-cozy with someone you know well, you’ve got no problems at all.
But in a meeting or delivering a presentation–that’s a different story! Suddenly you can draw a blank and forget what you were going to say! Or you just start talking too fast and using too many words to deliver a simple point.
The evil voice in your head can make you talk too fast, too.
Did you ever get that voice in your head? While you’re working on a project, the voice tells you how talented you are? You’re such a genius; your project is spot-on and you’re going to crush it!
Then you’re in front of your audience and you’re explaining your project to your boss or the prospects, and suddenly your generous Jekyll voice turns into Mr. Hyde. WaaaHaaHaaHaaaa! This new, evil voice is telling you how your ideas aren’t good enough and you should just shut up and sit down.
How to Stop Speaking Fast
You can do this!
- Get rid of your nervousness.
- Speak in bullets.
- Eliminate your conjunctions (and, but, so, etc.)
- Use pauses to organize your thoughts.
- Speak on the exhale. Breathe in for a pause between phrases.
Influential people already know the rules to stop speaking so quickly.
And they’re not going to stop learning.
They learned how to speak with a standard American English accent. They learned and practice being concise while speaking and they learned how to answer difficult questions and diffuse tense situations.
So let’s level the playing field & learn to use slower speech!
Public speaking woes.
We’re often called upon to speak in public. This can be at work in a meeting, in front of an audience, on Bloomberg, or at a wedding.
Many people avoid it. But remember, being a good or great public speaker makes you sought-after. People literally want to hire you. You don’t even need to interview.
Some relaxation exercises that cause to relax as a habit, abdominal breathing, and tricks to being concise and influential are all you need to become an incredible public speaker.
Hi Ita –
I made it through my Bloomberg interview yesterday, and I did well.
The perfect teacher shows up in life when I’m ready for it, and that teacher sure was you.
I was in total freak-out mode when I signed up for the Voice Spa. Not only is the Bloomberg Radio show live (yikes!), but it has 25.5 million listeners (double yikes!)
I’ve tried a number of public speaking courses over the years and even hypnosis. Your Voice Spa has been by far the most helpful thing I’ve come across.
I found it so helpful that the Voice Spa starts with relaxing and belly breathing. Those first few days, I did a lot of belly breathing. I was so nervous I was practically bouncing off the walls. Most relaxation programs have you doing meditation or counting breaths. There is no way I could have done those things – I was too agitated. But I could belly breathe -and it always calmed me down. Talking in phrases was also hugely helpful – it’s a great way to slow down without sounding mechanical.
Thank you for what you do. The Voice Spa is so well thought out. You saved my sanity.
-Betsy Clark, Ph.D. co-author of F-35: The Inside Story of the Lightning II,
The Voice Spa online video course will change your life!
9 Secret Steps to Influencing Others
Want to be more influential? We all want to communicate our most important messages in a way that encourages others to take action. Whether that action is voting for our candidate or picking up milk from the store, the words we use and how we speak play a huge role in getting the job done.
Let’s take a look at some case studies.
C-Level Executives .
“I’m an executive, good at my job, been going up the ranks in my career.
When I was in meetings, though, I felt like no one was listening to me. Often I couldn’t get what was in my head out of my mouth.
Sometimes someone else would say just what I was trying to say and get massive kudos for it! It was my idea! And when I got nervous, I would talk crazy fast!
I met with Ita, and she told me that none of this was a mystery. That I was normal & it happened to most people! All fantastic communicators have worked on their communication skills!
Looking to slow down my speech!
The skills I learned at Convey were life-changing. Literally. My life has changed for the better. People listen to me speak; they follow my advice and direction; I’m not nervous before or during presentations–quite the opposite–I love presenting now! Who’d of thought that?! Not me!“
To stop speaking so fast, speak in bullets
Thank you, Peter!
Peter found me on LinkedIn and told me he was a C-level exec at a major corporation. He was well-spoken on the phone and described that he had intense meetings that could become ungovernable.
I noticed he spoke a bit fast even on our phone call.
All we had to do was get him to use some pauses and be more concise. I taught him how to make his utterances more like bullet points.
Then we worked to make his skills a habit in his life so he never has to think about slowing down again.
Please stop interrupting me.
You can get people to stop interrupting you. You just need to prepare until you don’t need to prepare anymore.
Record yourself speaking, then go back and edit for conciseness. Then practice your new edited version using lots of air for speech and a varied intonation patatern.
“I was doing well in my career, moving up the ladder and finding myself in more client meetings. But sometimes people would interrupt me or not understand my message. Sometimes I’d be speaking, and my mind would draw a blank. I had no idea what the problem was!
Then my colleague told me about Convey. The process was seamless. I met with Ita; she told me precisely what I was doing wrong to allow people to interrupt me, and taught me how to fix it.
Now I speak clearly, concisely, and at a great pace as a habit! never knew it was a thing!“
An Introduction to Accent Reduction
This brief introduction will get you started on the road to speaking Standard American English.
Stop speaking fast by using breath groups.
Krista was such a pleasure to work with!
She presented with overly wordy speech and she connected all of her ideas with “um”s and “and”s. Don’t laugh! Most people do!
This was causing folks to not understand her message fully and feel the need to interrupt to get to the point.
All we had to do was help her to speak in concise bullets (noticing a pattern here?) and train her to do it habitually. This also helped her speak at a normal rate. Not too fast and not too slow.
Accent reduction, it's a thing.
“I’m originally from Japan, but after 17 years on Long Island, my accent was a mix of the two. It was awful.
I met with Ita–she was amazing! She told me we could do this!
Twelve sessions later, I gave a speech at my best friend’s wedding. I was easily able to apply all the techniques Ita taught me. It was incredible. One woman blamed me for smearing her makeup; she was crying so hard.“
You can completely change your accent, no matter what anyone says. I’ve been doing it for my clients successfully for 25 years. You only have to want it bad enough and follow the rules 🙂
Of course, speaking at a normal rate is a part of accent reduction.
The Perfect Accent video course will teach you everything you need to speak with a Standard American English accent. Pronunciation, American back resonance, rhythm, intonation, etc.
You’ll be crystal clear and highly persuasive in all high-stakes situations. People will find you credible and they’ll be able to see the real you.
My speaking voice!
So your voice doesn’t have to be your voice. There. I said it. Most of us are walking around with voices that are inhibited by physiological tension. Unfortunately, sounding less magnetic, clear, and persuasive than they otherwise would.
Even worse, that physiological tension also causes you to draw a blank, speak too fast, and use filler words, generally making us unclear and less effective than we could be if that tension weren’t there.
“I hated the sound of my voice. It was timid and sing-songy. It was causing me to be interrupted when presenting at work. It used to take me as many as ten tries to record a voicemail message.
When I listened to myself, it didn’t sound intelligent. I looked forever for help and never found it until I started working with Ita. She understood me right away and explained that I had to do my part of the work. It took time, but it wasn’t hard.
The results have been incredible–my voice is charismatic and confident all at the same time. I’m never interrupted, and people love my ideas!”
V Lynch Citibank
Bad speaking habits.
Guys, guys, guys. Please don’t be under the pervasive misconception that the voice you’re speaking with is the voice you’ll have forever. That the voice you’re speaking with is your natural voice. This is not the case. You can improve your speaking voice significantly.
In fact, you probably should–the voice you’re speaking with is likely hindered by physiological tension. This can cause damage to your vocal cords as well as make your voice sound less attractive and less magnetic.
Magnetic people have magnetic voices.
Do you love the voice you hear on the recorder? Because that’s the one other people hear. Most people don’t know they are not speaking with their true voice, but yes, their voices are hindered by physiological tension.
Talking fast isn't going to help your career.
Unless you’re an auctioneer. Then you have to speak at a normal speaking pace and speak clearly!
Avoiding speaking opportunities, using a thin voice or robotic speech won’t help your career either.
Becoming a crystal clear and persuasive communicator is not hard guys. Just do a little every day. Start with routine situations and master them. When that happens you can bring your skills into higher=stakes situations.