How to Overcome the Habit of Speaking Too Fast

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Today we’re diving into an issue that can impact the effectiveness of your communication: speaking too fast. We’re going to explore why you might be speeding through your words and share some actionable strategies to help you slow down and communicate more effectively.

We got the idea for this topic from one of our coaching calls with our Communicate with Confidence students. During the coaching call, one of our students asked for advice on how to slow down because she often gets feedback that she talks too fast.

So in this episode of the My English Matters podcast, you’ll learn:

  • Common causes of speaking too fast: We break down the main reasons you might be rushing through your words.
  • Practical strategies to slow down your speech: I share actionable tips you can start using right away to find a more comfortable speaking pace.
  • Tips for enhancing your communication skills: Discover pro tips to make your conversations clearer and more impactful.

Do you think you talk too fast? And more importantly, do you know why?

Make sure to watch the episode to find out.

You can also listen to this episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

1. Nervousness and Anxiety

A common reason for speaking too fast is nervousness or anxiety, especially when speaking English as a second language. You might fear making mistakes or being judged, adding pressure to speak quickly. 

Remember, making mistakes is a crucial part of learning. The more mistakes you make, the quicker you learn and improve.

To overcome nervousness:

  • Practise regularly: Practise speaking English as much as you can, whether at home, with friends, or with colleagues.
  • Build confidence: The more competent you become, the more confident you will feel. Even experienced speakers get nervous, but preparation and practice can help manage those nerves.
  • Visualisation: Visualise yourself doing well and also handling mistakes gracefully. This mental preparation can help you stay calm and focused.

2. Trying to Keep Up with Rapid Thoughts

If you have many thoughts racing through your mind, you might speak quickly to keep up with them. One helpful strategy is to use a speaking framework. In our course, Communicate with Confidence, we teach several speaking frameworks and one of them is the PREP framework (Point, Reason, Example, Point) to help structure your thoughts.

When you have a lot to say, this framework can help you stay focused:

  • P: State your point.
  • R: Give a reason to back up your point.
  • E: Provide an example or further explanation.
  • P: Restate your point.

3. Desire to Convey Everything

Sometimes, you might speak fast because you want to convey everything you know. This is common among experts who have a wealth of knowledge. However, it’s important to focus on what’s most relevant to your listener.

If you have limited time:

  • Prioritise information: Share only what is necessary and relevant to the question or topic at hand.
  • Synthesise your knowledge: Your role is to distill complex information into what your audience needs to know at that moment.

4. Mimicking Native Speakers or Misunderstanding Fluency

You might think that speaking fast makes you sound fluent, especially if you’re trying to mimic native speakers. However, effective communication involves appropriate pacing and pausing.

To improve your pacing:

  • Pause regularly: Pause between sentences and important phrases. This not only helps your listener but also gives you time to think.
  • Stress important words: Use stress and intonation to highlight key points.

5. Habitual Fast Speaking

Speaking fast might simply be a habit, whether in your first language or in English. Here are some additional tips to help you slow down:

  • Record yourself: Listen to recordings of your speech after a few days to gain objective insights into your speaking pace.
  • Breathe deeply: Remember to breathe between sentences. This naturally slows down your speech.
  • Read aloud: Practice reading books aloud, paying attention to your pace and clarity.
  • Set reminders: Use visual reminders, like Post-it notes, to remind yourself to slow down during presentations.
  • Stay present: Focus on connecting with your listener. Check in with them to see if they understand you, and adjust your pace accordingly.

Speaking too fast is a common issue, but with these strategies, you can learn to slow down and communicate more effectively. Practise regularly, use speaking frameworks, and remember to connect with your listeners.

If you found these tips helpful, please share this blog post with your friends and family. We hope to see you in our next episode. Bye for now!

Do you want to speak English with confidence?

Sign up to join our free video training, Speaking with Confidence. We’ll send you seven tips to your email address!

Here’s Tip 1 for a sneak peek of what’s in store for you.

Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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