Aim for a comfortable rate of speech.
Not too fast.
Not too slow.
The Pros’ Rate
One researcher analyzed a variety of 9 TED
talks to count their words per minute.
He found the average rate to be 133 to 188
words/minute (“What Is”).
Al Gore came in at 133 wpm.
Jacqueline Novogratz averaged 188 wpm.
Both speakers were comfortable and could
speak with clarity at their rates.
Rate is influenced by…
Nervousness/stress increases rate.
Write “SLOW DOWN” in your notes.
Mental fatigue slows us down.
We also tend to make more mistakes when tired.
Complexity of words/content.
Larger words, tougher concepts cause us to slow
Your own, in the audience, in the speaking
Fast or slow?
Generally, slow is better than fast.
Again, it’s most important to be comfortable
Aim for clarity.
Work within your vocabulary.
Fast or Slow?
Change it up to add variety to your speech.
Would you increase or decrease your rate to
Ask for feedback.
It’s hard to grasp our own rate of speech. Ask an
audience member how you’re doing.
We make music when we
Pitch is defined as the notes we use in our
Monotone is boring. Ask Ferris Bueller.
Use different notes to sound more interesting.
Pitch reflects your tone, your attitude.
Anger might lower pitch.
Excitement may increase pitch.
Activity: Playing with Pitch
You’re about to receive two cards:
One contains a quote.
One holds an adjective.
You will be asked to read your quote to the
class in an attempt to communicate the
emotion/tone on your other card.
The class will guess what emotion/tone you
are attempting to project from a list on the
Pauses are golden. They…
allow the audience to take in your words.
communicate emotion. (Think back to Al
control the pace of your delivery.
replace filler words.
allow you time to breathe.
give your mind time to catch up to your mouth.
Before you start your speech.
allows you to align everything physically,
mentally, and emotionally
Oxygen calms nerves
The Clause Pause
Wherever you’d see a comma in writing, use
short pause in speech.
Wanting to impress my husband on our
anniversary [pause] I prepared eggs [pause]
bacon [pause] and pancakes for breakfast.
The Point Pause
Transition through parts of your speech using
Set apart a story
The Dramatic/Emphasis Pause
When you want to emphasize a key word (or
phrase), try pausing immediately before and
immediately that which you want to stand out.
The before pause tells an audience to listen
The after pause signals us to remember what
The (Rhetorical) Question
If you ask your audience a question, give them
time to think about an answer.
e.g. Have you ever considered what it would be
like if you took the time to ask more questions?
e.g. “Think for a moment about how you would
Silent participation is important!
Failure to pause will frustrate your audience.
We need to
Think (use silence instead of filler words)
Check our notes
It’s OK! Take a second to collect yourself!
Dlugan, Andrew. "Speech Pauses: 12 Techniques to
Speak Volumes with Your Silence." Six Minutes RSS.
Six Minutes, 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Dlugan, Andrew. "Toastmasters Speech 6: Vocal
Variety." Six Minutes RSS. Six Minutes, 27 Aug. 2013.
Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
Dlugan, Andrew. "What Is the Average Speaking
Rate?" Six Minutes RSS. Six Minutes, 12 Nov. 2012.
Web. 18 Feb. 2015.