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After spending a lot of time memorizing your speech, the last thing you’ll probably think about is your speech’s pacing.
It’ll be hard for to remember that just because you know what you’re saying, your audience won’t likewise quickly understand your message and fall in love with you. When you start talking, you’ll likely get a big spike of adrenalin, which will naturally cause you to talk faster than you intended, and faster than your audience can process your words.
Your audience is also likely to perceive that a speaker whose words are racing as nervous, afraid, and insecure. They may try to keep up with the too-fast speech, and realize that it’s simply too hard. And then they’ll tune out your speech. Your hope for success has effectively landed on deaf ears.
When you start your speech, pretend the audience isn’t full of native English (or whatever language you’re speaking in) speakers. Speak slowly so they can understand what you’re saying, using words that are familiar to them. If you’re unsure if you have the right pacing, keep track of how many words per minute (wpm) you speak. If you speak consistently too slowly (under 120 wpm), your audience may think you’re stupid or are talking “down” to them. So, use as your starting point 130 wpm.
Tip: Use your pacing to infuse your speech with passion.