Friday, May 23, 2008

Speed Kills...

... your chances of being understood and appreciated.

If-you-talk-like-this-and-every-word-is-delivered-in-machine-gun-fashion-without-regard-for-your-audience-then-chance-are-that-they-will-either-tune-you-out-or-worse... [DEEP BREATH]

A recent article by Scott Ginsberg brought this to my attention and while talking fast is generally accepted in the Northeast part of the United States, your speedy pace can come across as pushy or arrogant or uncaring in other parts of the country or the world. Many places operate on a slower pace... and that needs to be taken into account as you prepare your speech.

Scott points out...
See, when you talk too fast, here’s what happens:
OTHER PEOPLE…
o Won’t be ABLE to chime in.
o Will have to work too hard to chime in.
o Won’t have time to process what you’re saying.
o Might not feel they have the space to think differently.
o May become intimidated or overwhelmed by your urgent and anxious speech.

AND YOU…
o May become stressed.
o Won’t breathe enough.
o Will discover that your words don’t carry as much
influence.

o Won’t have the space in your own mind to process your
thoughts.

o Will notice that your urgent and anxious speech may threaten or confuse people.
On the other hand, there are times where your speaking speed conveys excitement, energy and enthusiasm (The Wheel's 3 E's) which can be a very good thing.

The key is to do it on purpose... when you want to ... and use other tools to slow down your pace when the situation requires it.

Scott Ginsberg's recommendations include...
1. Awareness.
2. Breathe.
3. Reminders.
4. Ask for feedback.
5. Pause.
6. Monitor.
Of all his recommendations, my favorite is "The Pause". It does so many things...
  • It replaces an "Ah" or "Um" (which makes you seem more confident and knowledgeable).
  • It creates drama.
  • It pulls your audience into your speech and gives them time to soak up your points.
The Total Communicator had a good article about the beauty of the Pause (click here). The article says...
The indomitable Robert Byrd, one of the true orators in the U.S. Senate, once rose in that august hall to praise the simple pause...
"There can be an art in the use of a pause. I find nothing wrong with a pause. It does not have to be filled with a you know. This phrase, like so many others,” Byrd added, “betrays a mind whose thoughts are often so disorganized as to be unutterable—a mind in neutral gear coupled to a tongue stuck in overdrive."
Don't let Speed Kill your presentation!

Slow down ... for applause !

1 comment:

Terry Gault said...

You are right Dave: presenters often try to rush through their material as quickly as possible and in doing so alienate their audience.

Silence is powerful in presentations!

Silence is a common occurrence in genuine dialogue. One of our strongest allies in being mentally present is to hold our silence longer than is comfortable.

Our natural discomfort with silence sometimes causes us to interrupt a silence in the conversation too soon. Frequently, before someone embraces a new perspective we are urging, they will go silent. They are doing the deep thinking required before they open to new perspectives. To interrupt this important exploration undercuts our ability to influence.

I always suggest:

1. Practice holding silence longer. Allow your “inner-observer” to
monitor your nervousness, “Shouldn’t I be saying something?”
2. Develop deeper silences within yourself so that you can hear
through the noise to find the signal of what others really mean.
3. See the silence of your conversation not as dead silence, not as
paralyzed silence, but as silence teeming with possibility.

Thanks for the post!