Friday, August 10, 2012

Speaking Tip: Pace yourself

Winners aren't the ones who set off at a hundred miles an hour and then run out of steam. Nor are they people who start very slowly and then work like mad at the end. They are people who know how to pace themselves steadily through an event, so that they finish with a flourish, but are always in the race. 

One of the most common faults that I notice in inexperienced speakers is the tendency to speak too quickly. That may be due to nerves, or to a wish to get the speech over as quickly as possible. The trouble is, you may be speaking faster than your audience is thinking, which means that your message will not get across. 

You need to consider the pace at which you deliver your words. Here are a few tips:
  • Always rehearse your speech out loud before delivery
  • Include enough material to take up 80% of your allocated time - live speaking always "expands"
  • If you finish a few minutes early, no-one will mind
  • If you stumble over words or phrases, you're going too fast
  • Vary your pace to maintain interest
  • Build in gaps, such as images or short videos
  • If your audience looks confused, go back and explain. You have time
  • If you look likely to run out of time, drop something, don't speed up
  • Never rush through slides. Learn how to skip them.
  • Finish slowly and clearly

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