Pace Is Crucial When Speaking In Presentations

By Brenda C. Smith

This morning I heard on our local radio station about an upcoming event happening in our town. It started off with bright energy listing numerous things to go to. However, I lost track after the second or third item; then I lost my focus as more things were mentioned; and I never did catch the when, where, or how to get tickets as the female voice raced to the end.

Every business owner or professional speaker should take notice that how quickly or slowly you speak truly matters. First, be aware of the amount of content you must communicate; second, be clear of the facts that are important to the listener; and finally, adjust the sound of your voice to engage the listeners. These three key elements are all affected by the rate you speak.

  1. Content is Priority

Too often writers try to include every possible detail in their script. This is because the writers of marketing material are not copy writers, they are either owners of their business, marketing professionals without experience in writing for different media, or some person who thinks they have a good voice and can also write copy.For example, in the radio announcement that I heard, the copy was way too long. It could have been shortened or separated into three brief announcements. Since it was a radio commercial the average listener can only remember two or three main points of reference.

The biggest mistake that you can make is to speak your copy as fast a you can read it, while trying to fit in all the information in a limited time. Your listeners do not have a printed copy in front of them, and it takes them longer to hear it, to connect to their brain, and to then get it. Slow down as if you are speaking live to someone.

  1. Facts Are Important

In radio for example, the professional broadcaster knows the last contact line is the most important fact to get the listener to respond to. For instance, they may want to write down the telephone number or date. If this is rushed through or fades off, it is not helping people to show up or go into your store to buy.Adjust your speed for significant facts or events to stand out so the listener will pay attention. If speaking in a video, webinar, or podcast, and all items in your list are rushed through; then you create a monotone without anything standing out as memorable or interesting.

  1. Your Voice is Your Business

The sound of your voice is your signature persona to influence listeners. The pace of your speech can perhaps indicate age, energy level, intellect, and emotional impact. For example, I knew instantly that the person I heard on my morning radio was a younger person. I appreciate anyone who speaks quickly with energy to create excitement or anticipation. However, as a voice coach, I encourage my clients to not cloud the message. Speaking too quickly runs the words together as if you are mumbling and nothing is distinct.You will get better results if you take time to emphasize key words: louder, softer, unique nuance, or a pause. This will automatically slow your pace so it’s a good way to rehearse your script. Racing through your speech does not allow for a variety of tone. It becomes a thinner edge of creating excitement to an event and is not heard. This is often the case with women who are sounding too quiet, or too high pitch in tone. Depth to you tone is lost when you speak too quickly.

The next time you approach to record on a microphone or speak live please take the time so your message motivates your listener through how you pace your speech. If so, all the other aspects of your tone and engagement will shine through to your listeners.


Brenda C Smith, Speech and Drama Coach, is the Founder of Voice Power Training Services, and has taught and coached drama students, professional actors, and business clients from high school level to College level. Her book “Breathe… Just Steps to Breathtaking Speeches: 7-Steps to Putting Your Best Voice Forward” captures an all-inclusive easy system on how to improve the sound of your voice and delivery method to become a calm, confident, and passionate speaker. Go to for more information.