a couple communicating at the dinner table

How to Slow Down Speech

Have you ever been told that you talk too fast or been asked to slow down your fast speech? In today’s fast-paced, busy, and often chaotic society, it is more and more common for individuals of all ages to have this communication problem. While speaking quickly is not a specific speech disorder and is not necessarily a problem in and of itself, some individuals speak so quickly that the clarity, diction, and coherency of their speech are affected, often inhibiting effective communication.

While many people can slow down their pace of speech by simply paying attention to their rate while speaking or practicing, others might require the help and support of a speech and language pathologist. Speech therapy can help with a wide variety of communication disorders and challenges, including addressing and regulating an individual’s rate of speech.

If you’ve ever wondered how to slow down your talking or whether speech therapy might be helpful for you, you can learn more by scheduling your free introductory call today!

Why Do Some People Speak Too Fast?

There are many reasons why an individual might speak quickly, but there are four reasons that are the most common cause of fast speech including:

A Racing Brain – Some individuals speak quickly because their brains are going a mile a minute and they are attempting to keep up with their own racing thoughts. This is found to be especially true amongst extroverts, as they have a tendency to think as they are speaking rather than thinking before they speak.

Anxiety & Nerves – Nervousness and anxiety are also common causes for some individuals to speak quickly. They often subconsciously increase their rate of speech to get their communication over with, usually at the expense of diction and clarity. This results in mumbling or jumbled speech that is difficult for others to understand.

Social Conditioning – Some individuals naturally speak fast because they were socially conditioned to at a young age. For instance, a child in a family with rowdy and vocal siblings may experience pressure to speak quickly and immediately to receive any attention or get a word in.

English as a Second Language – For some individuals for whom English is a second or third language, their rate of speech may seem very fast for English but is normal in their native language. Many languages have an inherently faster rate of speech than English, and it can be difficult for some to adapt their speech to the slower pace that is considered normal in other languages.

How Does Speaking Fast Affect Speech?

Regardless of the underlying reason or cause of fast speech, many individuals who speak quickly may also struggle to communicate effectively. Talking quickly without taking adequate time to pause or slow down when necessary can have the following negative effects on speech:

  • Decreased Strength and Power in the Voice
  • Higher Vocal Pitch
  • Decreased Clarity and Articulation
  • Increased Instances of Filler Words (um, ah, uh, etc.)
  • Decreased Comprehension by the Listener
  • Limited Impact on the Listener
  • Loss of Important Points or Emphasis
  • Reduced Poise or Seriousness by the Speaker
  • Lower Credibility of the Speaker

If you or a loved one is struggling to be understood by others due to fast speech or have asked others how to slow down your rate of talking, speech therapy can help. Getting started with one of our incredible speech and language pathologists is as simple as scheduling your free introductory call today!

How Do I Slow Down My Speech?

If you’re wondering how you can slow your speaking rate and sound more credible and composed, below are four tips that might be helpful.

Monitor your Speech Rate – If you catch yourself speaking quickly, simply take a moment to pause or consciously slow down your speech. You can even say to your listener, “I’m talking too quickly. Let me take a moment to slow down.”

Ask for Help – If you are aware that you have a habit of speaking too quickly, it is absolutely okay to let others around you know that you are working on slowing down your speech. You can also ask your loved ones, co-workers, and friends to gently remind you when they notice you are speaking quickly.

Try a Bottle of Water – Using a bottle of water as a prop is a simple method that may help. Keeping the bottle of water close to you and taking periodic sips from it helps to create natural pauses in your speech. This tip can be applied in social, professional, and public speaking situations.

Work Pauses into Planned or Prepared Speech – If you have to deliver a presentation or are required to speak in a meeting or public scenario, build pauses (and reminders to pause) into your notes or slides. Asking listeners if they have any questions between topics or key points is also a natural way to ensure you pause regularly and speak at a regular pace.

How Can Speech Therapy Help with Fast Talking?

Speech therapy can be highly effective in addressing fast-talking, also often referred to as rapid speech or cluttering. Speech and language pathologists work closely with individuals to improve their communication by focusing on various aspects of speech production and articulation. Here are some ways in which speech therapy can help an individual who speaks too quickly:

Rate Control Exercises: Speech therapy employs specific exercises to help individuals gain control over their speaking rate. These exercises may include practicing slow and deliberate speech, using pacing techniques, and incorporating pauses between phrases.

Awareness and Self-Monitoring: Developing awareness of one’s speaking rate is a crucial step in addressing fast talking. Speech therapists help individuals recognize when they are speaking too quickly and teach self-monitoring techniques to adjust their rate in real-time.

Breath Control Techniques: Efficient breath control is essential for managing one’s rate of speech. Speech therapists focus on improving diaphragmatic breathing and teaching individuals how to use breath support to regulate their speaking pace.

Articulation Exercises: Clear articulation is vital for comprehensible speech. Speech therapists focus on articulation exercises to enhance the precision of speech sounds. This can help individuals maintain clarity even when speaking at a more controlled pace.

Pacing and Rhythm Practice: Therapists may use rhythmic exercises and pacing drills to help individuals establish a more even and controlled rhythm in their speech. These exercises can contribute to a smoother and more measured speaking pattern.

Cognitive Strategies: Speech therapy may involve teaching cognitive strategies to improve overall communication, including strategies to organize thoughts and ideas before speaking. This can contribute to a more organized and controlled speaking style.

Feedback and Practice: Regular feedback and guided practice are essential components of speech therapy for fast talking. Therapists provide constructive feedback, monitor progress, and guide individuals through targeted practice exercises to reinforce new speaking habits.

It’s important to note that the specific approach used in speech therapy will depend on the individual’s unique needs, underlying factors contributing to fast-talking, and any associated speech or language disorders. A personalized and comprehensive treatment plan, developed in collaboration with a speech therapist, can lead to significant improvements in speech rate and overall communication effectiveness. Get started on the path to clearer speech and increased confidence by scheduling your free introductory call today!