I am a rapid speaker. What’s worse, I also speak at a very low volume, so people are constantly asking me to repeat myself, making me take pause and talk a bit slower so I’m not running my words into each other. It takes time and effort, but you can slow your speaking down so you can comfortably have a conversation with people without having to repeat everything you say.
Get a tape recorder, or record your voice on your cell phone. Have a minute-long conversation with yourself at your normal talking speed, then play it back to yourself so you can hear how fast you actually talk. I did this, and even I could only understand half of what I said. It’s a great way to realize what you actually sound like.
When talking to people, speak as if you are explaining something that you want to make clear, without raising your voice to sound condescending. It’s a great way to automatically slow down what you are saying so you aren’t rapid-firing words out of your mouth like diarrhea.
Calm down. I am an excited talker, so just taking a deep breath in between sentences helps me tone down the rate in which I am speaking. When you take pause and calm down, you speak more clearly so people can hear you better the first time.
Enunciate. Speed talkers often slur their words together without realizing it. Taking time to enunciate words (not all, just some longer ones, or perhaps an “s” or “t” sound) helps put a natural break in your speaking rate, so people can catch up and understand what you were saying.
Think before you speak. Fast talkers often just ramble on and on because they can shove a lot of conversation in a few minutes. Taking pause allows you to realize not only what you’re saying, but can allow you to mentally slow down what’s coming out of your mouth.
Talk in the same voice you use with kids, without the tone. I talk to the kids a lot slower than I do everyone else so they can hear me the first time. Using the same slow-motion reminder with everyone else without the “kid tone” helps to make my speaking more understandable.
Open your mouth when you talk. I talk through my teeth a lot, which makes it even harder for people to hear what I say. Opening my mouth allows words to come out at a more normal pace without even trying. I watch my face in the mirror just speaking normally, and then learn to actually open my mouth to speak by seeing how I speak normally. When you talk through your teeth or barely open your mouth (which allows you to speak faster, at least for me, it just comes naturally), people just can’t hear you. The effort to form your words via opening your mouth naturally helps to curb rapid speaking.
Be confident with what you’re saying. I’m often a fast talker because I fear if I don’t just ramble out my words I won’t say them. When I’m confident with what I say out loud, I give it more clarity and don’t rush it. Speak with confidence, and your words will come out more clearly and not be rushed.
It takes time and effort, but if you really listen to how fast you talk, it may give you a good head start on learning to talk at a more normal pace. You’ll still talk fast, but people will at least be able to hear you.