I'm a fast-talker. It would be easy for me to cram ten times more information into my presentations, because I could race through it all in record time! I have to consciously make myself speak slower when I'm presenting.
When you race through your presentation, it's overwhelming to the audience. They miss key points, they misunderstand your words, and they are unable to process everything you've said before you move on to your next idea.
Unfortunately, fast-talking is a common symptom of nervousness, yet nervousness itself makes a speaker want to go faster, just to get the presentation over with. It's a vicious circle.
But slowing down doesn't just benefit the audience; it also benefits the speaker.
Slowing down allows you to breathe. When you breathe, you send more oxygen to your brain, you support your voice, and you calm yourself down.
Slowing down allows you to hear yourself talking. When you can hear yourself talking, you're less likely to get ahead of yourself, lose your place or forget your next point.
Slowing down forces you to be concise with your material. You'll have to leave out all the extraneous and non-critical content and just focus on the most meaningful aspects of your message.
Next time you speak, make a conscious effort to slow down. You don't have to talk to your audience as though they are five-year-olds, but do consider your pace while practicing and make time to breathe and think!
Are you a fast-talker?