What are some tips to help articulate thoughts

This is how you learn to speak more slowly

There are very different types of speakers. One carefully weighs every word and another hisses through her statements like an express train. Especially when people speak in front of an audience, the speed of speech suddenly changes for many.

Popular question: ‘How do I learn to speak more slowly?

Many of my clients describe themselves as follows: 'I always talk so fast - I want to learn to speak more slowly.

Or: 'I speak so quickly that I keep swallowing syllables.‘

Then I ask: 'Do you have the impression that you are speaking too quickly - or is that an assessment from the outside that was mirrored to you?

Then the answer usually comes: 'Yes, I was told to speak without a period or comma. And that wouldn’t keep you going.

Or: 'This comes from my boss: My quick speaking seems insecure and it is difficult to take me seriously.‘

You just speak in your Tempo.

Perhaps you are also familiar with this paradox that many quick speakers experience. You don't even have the impression that you are talking too fast. Or you have not yet developed a strong awareness of it and just speak in your Tempo.

But other people tell you that you are speaking too quickly and that this is why they do not understand you well. And it is only through this feedback that you feel the need to change something and want to speak more slowly in the future.

Many people who speak at high speed also speak quickly because they are afraid that the audience would otherwise not listen to them. This is often based on the (unconscious) desire not to take up too much of the other person's time and to be able to speak quickly.

Unfortunately, this behavior is counterproductive: It is an illusion that the other person can get all the information through a fast pace while speaking. Rather, it happens that the other person can no longer follow, is overwhelmed and mentally switches off. And then all the effort was in vain.

You speak too fast when you are unsure.

Speaking quickly is often a result of insecurity and stage fright. Before a speech, your speaking speed was still normal - but as soon as you stand in front of the people, you start to race through your text. And literally without periods and commas: no time for breaks, no time to lower your voice. True to the motto: Just get through quickly and get off the presentation plate again.

You've probably also experienced the difficulty of speaking more slowly in the interests of other people. You're not alone in this: Most people don't know how to suddenly slow down their own speaking speed.

In addition to the situational factor of nervousness, the individual speed of speech is also shaped by one's own temperament, as well as by regional patterns and family characteristics.

You speak faster than others can think.

Some speakers simply have a faster pace of thought and performance: They are just so much further with their thoughts. They know their own content inside out and subconsciously assume that all other people feel the same way.

But a fast speaking speed also requires a high processing speed on the part of the audience. Especially when your content is new to other people, it quickly becomes overwhelming.

And even if the audience can just barely follow, speaking quickly from the outside can give the impression that the speaker is stressed and insecure. Your own inner reality and your external perception do not necessarily fit together in terms of speed.

Whether you speak slowly or quickly: The speed determines the way you speak.

Tempo is one of the non-verbal characteristics of speech expression. It is a possible speaking tool to create impact.

Others are: the type of melody, volume and intensity or articulation. Speaking speed is a dynamic stylistic device and is important for speaking in a varied way.

Because it's not about speaking at the same pace over and over again. If you always speak at the same speed, it is very monotonous. If you speak too quickly, your listeners will switch off at some point.

And if you keep talking too slowly, the same thing happens. You can attract attention for a short time by speaking very slowly. But if you consistently speak every single word slowly, you also lose it: Your listeners are slowly sleeping off to you.

Don't just speak slower, but more varied.

Therefore, the goal is that you speak in a variety of ways. Then you consciously switch between speaking slowly and speaking quickly. And all the variations in between. You can train that.

In a figurative sense, you will then be able to drive both on country roads and on the autobahn. Both slow motion and time lapse, snail pace and monkey tooth. Experienced speakers are proficient in the entire spectrum of tempo variations.

Your speaking speed depends on 2 factors: articulation and pauses.

On the one hand, the speed at which you speak depends on how many syllables you speak in a certain amount of time, e.g. within a minute. Hence the common connection between 'Swallow syllables' and ,Speak fast‘. Because if you speak quickly, the articulation becomes more and more negligent as the tempo increases: the final syllables are blurred or drop out altogether. Speaking clearly takes time.

Second, the rate at which you speak is influenced by how many and how long you pause while speaking. Many quick speakers don't take any breaks at all and hang one sentence on the next. That is with 'Speak without periods and commas' meant.

Often there is not even time to take a breath or to exhale, neither for the speaker nor for the listener. This means that the speaker never loosens the tension and the quick, strenuous speech causes the voice to slide higher and higher.

As a result, the listeners also become more and more strained and finally switch off internally: then they no longer absorb any information, no matter how fast and committed you throw it at them.

3 tips to help you speak slower

That's why you are now given 3 tips on how to learn to speak more slowly. Because of course there are different screws that you can turn.

As always, the most important thing is: If you really want to change something in the way you speak, you need inner readiness, awareness and of course practice. Then you will also be able to speak connected, clearly and at exactly the right pace.

1. Strengthen the relationship with your audience through eye contact.

One of the most important factors influencing speaking quickly is eye contact. So a physical means of expression that shapes your relationship with the audience. In my experience, if you strengthen and intensify the way you make eye contact, the speed of speaking decreases with most people.

Why is that?

As I wrote above, speaking too fast is very often related to uncertainty and stage fright. Or with the mistaken assumption that others would take their own knowledge for granted. In both cases, you are building an invisible barrier between you and your audience.

Eye contact diminishes through insecurity.

If you are afraid of speaking or if you are nervous, eye contact is quickly lost. You are physically present in a speaking situation, but part of you would rather not be there, not be looked at and relate.

That's why you avoid eye contact and don't look for it on your own. But then you won't get any more feedback as to whether your statements are being received and whether your audience is still with you. So you speak at a pace that is an expression of your current nervousness: almost on autopilot and very quickly. The motto is in the truest sense of the word: 'eyes shut and go for it‘.

Your audience isn't as fast as you are.

Even if you assume that your audience is almost as advanced as you are in terms of content, you speak on autopilot and race through your lecture. Sometimes just looking at the PowerPoint and without checking whether all your beautiful content is actually being received. You then do not speak understandably, but only for yourself.

But even if the content is theoretically on the ball, a lot is new for your audience: the situation, you as a lecturer, the way you prepare knowledge ... They need time and the relationship with you to stay with your lecture.

Look at people to speak more slowly.

So: keep your eyes open. Relate to your audience. Look at people, speak your sentences directly to them. Eye contact with people is important for anyone with stage fever, because only then can they see how friendly and affectionate most of them are.

And for the content-related autopilot, eye contact is the optimal means of sending the content even more effectively and emphatically, and thereby automatically varying the speaking speed.

2. Take breaks and lower your voice at the end of a sentence.

Remember: the pace of your speaking also depends on how long your breaks are. And how many breaks you take. With a break you structure your utterances.

They give your conversation partners and your audience the opportunity to process what you are saying. In addition, you can underline your statements and make their meaning clear by taking targeted breaks.

Eye contact and breaks are related.

You can also increase awareness of your pauses by maintaining eye contact with someone while you are sending a sentence or part of a sentence to them.

At the end of the sentence or after a meaningful unit, stay with your gaze at this person a little longer and let what has been said have an effect. Then you turn to another person. This makes your speaking more varied, more direct and more structured through pauses.

Plan your breaks and write them down.

If you speak with key words, write down the pauses directly on it. The best is a big, curled 'P' or something similar. Something that reminds you to actually pause and take a deep breath at this point in your presentation.

Put an audible point at the end of your statement.

And be sure to turn your voice down at the end of a sentence. Do a deliberate lowering of your voice or a low circuit. This does not mean that you acoustically 'press the voice down', but that you make an audible point when speaking.

In this way you lower your voice within the scope of your speaking range and everyone can hear: this is where a unit of meaning ends. And then something new begins.

3. Pay attention to your articulation: speak clearly.

Whether your audience can understand you well depends not only on your speaking speed but also on how clearly you articulate. This means how precisely you shape the individual sounds and sound connections while speaking and how you delimit them from one another. How much you move your speaking tools (tongue, lower jaw, lips, etc.) while you speak.

If you are told that you are mumbling, that you are not speaking clearly, or that you are swallowing syllables, then you are not articulating precisely enough. Often speaking, it also seems insecure and not very convincing.

You need more time to speak clearly.

Try to speak syllables and endings clearly. Of course, you need more time for this, because your entire speaking apparatus moves more. You kill two birds with one stone: your pronunciation becomes clearer and you speak more slowly.

You can practice clear articulation with tongue twisters, for example. These are pronunciation exercises. I am sure you already know some of them. To get a tongue twister across properly, you don't need speed, you need precision.

Make sure you take the time you need to pronounce the different sounds in a differentiated and clear manner. Each tongue twister practices a different way of switching between sounds.

A few examples of tongue twisters:

  • Two swallows are chirping between two branches of plum.

  • Red cabbage remains red cabbage and a wedding dress remains a wedding dress.

  • The Cottbus stagecoach cleans the Cottbus stagecoach box.

  • Czech stretch jeans with rhinestones.

  • Quickly buckle on the quick buckle shoes.

You will be better understood through varied, clear speaking.

You can learn to speak more slowly. It is in your interest as well as that of your audience. You will be better understood and can send your content more clearly. It's not about simply avoiding talking quickly. Rather, it is more important that you speak in a variety of ways.

You can do this by strengthening the relationship with your conversation partners or your audience through eye contact. Additionally, you can be careful to pause and lower your voice at the end of a sentence. And you can also reduce your speaking speed through precise articulation: because you need more time for clear, varied speaking.

With these 3 measures and a dash of awareness, you will speak more clearly and in the exactly right Tempo.