Grammar

How to slow down when speaking English?

“A good speech should be like a woman's skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” ― Winston S. Churchill

The Typing Technique

The average person speaks 125 words per minute. Recently, I came across a technique for slowing down my speech which I found extremely helpful. This technique is all about typing and of course recording yourself. To make the most of it, type every word. If your typing skills are advanced, you might want to write instead. During this exercise, you will develop not only a sense of the correct timing, but you will understand the benefits of taking time. Discovering the correct speed, it is crucial. The English language has 22 vowel sounds, timing is important, e.g, the short and long “i” such as in the “spreadsheet” word. If you let the excitement overcome you, you might end pronouncing the “s***” word instead. Good Luck! (This paragraph is just 125 words)

The Beat Technique

After each sentence, three beats. This will give the audience enough time to process the message. The point of doing this is for you to feel the pauses. If you are a non-native speaker it will give you time to swallow. As a Spanish speaker, one of the main difference I have noticed is the amount of saliva that is produced while speaking in English.

Enunciating and Speaking in Blocks

For some people, it is really hard almost impossible to slow down. One of the main issues is that by slowing down we lose the chain of thoughts as our brain is always going ahead. This would mean we need to change our brain speed. A huge challenge over here! So what are the options? By enunciating you will make sure that all words are noticeable and no one gets lost in the speed of the speech. Speaking in blocks is similar to the Beat Technique but it focuses on separating a whole block of topics rather than just breaking up in between sentences. You need to stop after every sentence or new thought.

Key Tips

  1. Open your mouth a little bit wider than you do. This helps the sound to get out and it also slows you down, it might only be a fraction of a second but it helps. Open as wide as when you yawn. I don’t expect you to open it that wide when talking in a conversation (you may look a bit daft) but if you practise that wide – with three fingers vertically in your mouth, you will be more likely to open it as wide as two fingers when speaking.
  2. Finish the words. Make sure you put the ends on the words. Many people just don’t realise that they cut nearly every word short and this makes their speech sound mumbled and very quick.
  3. Lengthen the words. Creating gaps between words is the first thing everybody does when trying to slow down in their speech. They lose all of their fluency. A better and easier technique is to make each word longer. How? By making the vowel sounds longer – just a fraction of a second. For instance, the word ‘long’ make it longer by holding the ‘o’ sound so you get ‘loong’.

Now it’s just time to practice and practice again and again.

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