As a speaker there are few questions which we all face
- What is the correct speed in a speech?
- Is your pace of delivering speech fast,slow or just right?
- And what is a normal speaking pace?
The answers are not straight forward.
The most common way to express one speaking pace is in words per minute (wpm). To calculate this one has to simply divide the number of words spoken by number of seconds.
Studies suggest that the pace of a speaker depends on multiple of things like his/her culture, geographical location, subject matter, gender, fluency to even their emotional state. However there are some guidelines which are widely accepted
- Slow speech is usually regarded as less than 110 wpm, or words per minute.
- Conversational speech generally falls between 120 wpm at the slow end, to 160 - 200 wpm in the fast range.
- People who read books for radio or podcasts are often asked to speak at 150-160 wpm.
- Auctioneers or commentators who practice speed speech are usually in the 250 to 400 wpm range.
A really quick estimate can be obtained by timing yourself while practicing a written speech with a known word count and timing it. Try to pretend that you are speaking in front of live audience. Try to record it as it will help you to understand the review number of words spoken. Then use the above method to calculate. Remember not to read from the notes, because then you will be calculating your reading rate not the speaking rate.
Public speaking and rate of speech
If you are giving a speech or presentation, the concept of normal speaking speed doesn’t apply. You need to be flexible. Your speaking speed needs to be adaptable to match the pace of your audience’s ability to comprehend it. Experience and audience reaction will teach you that a one-size-fits-all approach will be far less effective than careful variation in rate. So instead of worrying too much about your numerical speed, it would be probably better to focus on improving clarity and better communicating.
You may need to vary your speed to emote the emotions in your speech like speeding up to show the excitement or a little slower to reflect the sadness. Also remember to add in pauses as a pause adds power, drama to your speech. Used well your silences will literally speak LOUDER than your words.
Though I have seen people to speak really slowly (slow enough to put the audience to sleep), but they are extremely rare. Maximum of the person have a tendency to speed up. This is mainly because we are anxious and are aware of facing the audience and their gaze piercing us. Therefore we tend to cramp our presentation with too much data and facts and go through them at a blazing speed. SLOW DOWN and only try to give them the facts and figures they desire for.