I took a casual poll on my Facebook page, asking, "Who is the fastest speaker you know?" The answers were varied, but there was a definite 'winner': ME!
A number of my family members and friends from high school were quick to respond (appropriately), telling me that I was indeed one of the fastest talkers they knew. Although I have a high school friend who continues to speak more quickly than I do, I had to acquiesce that I am, in fact, a very fast talker.
If you, too, suffer from PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) speech, there are a variety of resources out there for you and I to help better ourselves. Here's a summary of some of the experts' pointers:
(1) Prolong the vowel sounds as you speak (i.e., "Iii'm haaapy tooo heeelp")
(2) Visualize yourself in a rocking chair, speaking lazily and casually
(3) Practice out loud as frequently as possible, and record yourself, so that you get the opportunity to hear yourself as others hear you
(4) If speaking too quickly is still a problem for you and you must deliver a public presentation, enlist others to discreetly indicate from the audience when you need to slow down
This last point works best when done from the front row or the very back of the room, which is what I have often done when coaching corporate clients. I also provide a printed copy of the speech—in large font—with breaks or pauses indicated after important points, between paragraphs, or even after every sentence for speakers with exceedingly rapid speech.
Go to the following sites to learn more about slooooowiiing dooooown yooouuur speeeeeeeeeech:
Katie Schwartz's eZine Article
Diane DiResta's e-Article
And for all sorts of quick tips for speakers: The Public Speaking Library
(c) KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009