How To Catch Yourself When You're Fast Talking
We have all inevitably been there. Whether it’s your first time in front of a class delivering an oral report, being interviewed on a podcast, or giving a presentation to your team on Zoom, it is normal for your nerves to get the best of you. According to some experts, Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is very common and affects up to 77% of people.
Not everyone is a natural public speaker or communicator, and sometimes you don’t consider yourself an expert on the subject matter you are speaking about. So, when the spotlight is on you, it can cause you to freeze up. Before you know it, your heart starts pounding, fight or flight has kicked in, and your confidence plummets, which results in fast-talking, rambling, and stumbling over your words.
It can feel like a painful moment of defeat, but it doesn’t mean you have to identify yourself as a fast talker forever. Whether in the classroom, boardroom, or virtual setting, it is critical to learn how to confidently communicate in a way that others comprehend and that showcases your character and credibility.
Professional public speakers might consider fast-talking a cardinal sin or crime of the decade, but they have all had to overcome communication issues at some point in their careers. They commit to learning and practice being concise while speaking and learning the art of communication in stressful situations.
Let’s discuss how fast-talking creates communication problems and how you can reverse or prevent this habit and even train yourself to communicate effectively like professionals with Poised, your personal AI communication coach.
5 Problems With Talking Too Quickly
- You’re More Likely To Ramble
Most people can immediately recognize a rambler. They start talking too fast due to a surge in anxiety or adrenaline and often will overcompensate by rambling on for extended lengths of time trying to get to the point. Sometimes this is referred to as “talking your ear off.”
Other explanations for rambling include desiring feedback, wanting to convince another of your perspective or wishing to be seen in a position of authority. So subconsciously, you ramble to prove yourself. But this ultimately leads to teaching instead of influencing, which leaves little room for challenging your audience if you’re just spitting out information.
“Show, don't tell” is a popular technique used in various forms of text, which allows the reader to experience the story through actions, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author’s exposition, summarization, and description.
Show, don’t tell can and should also be applied to speaking and communicating with others if we want to hold their attention and convey a message in a way they will easily understand. It also challenges your audience to think for themselves.
When you’re rambling, you are likely fixating on “tell” by talking at your audience instead of to them. When you prioritize “show,” you give them the opportunity of discovery by using their imagination and experiences to draw their own conclusions.
- Fast Talking Leaves Listeners Confused
On the receiving end of fast-talking, it becomes challenging to follow along with what the other person is sharing because there are no pauses for digestion or reflection. In addition, fast-talking requires the listener to work twice as hard to absorb your message.
If the listener isn’t an auditory learner, it will result in even more confusion. Ultimately, you will lose their attention, and they will likely disengage from the conversation.
- Fast Talking Is a Sign of Low Confidence
Most people will interpret fast-talking as a sign of low self-confidence. Your fast talking can make it appear that you don't think people want to hear what you have to say or don’t know what you’re talking about.
It’s as though you’re rushing through because you feel uneasy. Subconsciously people perceive this as a lack of confidence. When people look for potential leaders, confidence is key.
Additionally, when you speak without pausing, you're not taking in enough air to support your voice. As a result, your breathing becomes weak, and the words near the end of your utterance may lack clarity and volume. Proper breathwork is vital for speaking with presence and commanding a room.
- Talking Too Fast Stresses Others Out
In many instances, fast-talking might stress others out. Your demeanor, tone of voice, and rapid speech transfer the nervous energy onto your audience. Naturally, your credibility as a speaker is based on what you’re saying. Yet, a speaker’s credibility also has a lot to do with how they say it: energy, tone of voice, and body language all play a part.
When you’re talking too fast, everything else tends to follow suit and could include the habit of pacing, fidgeting, and varied speech. From your listeners’ standpoint, too much variation in your speaking pitch is like a roller-coaster ride — a distracting experience rather than a compelling one. It’s stressful to keep up with a barrage of information and no time to process it.
- It Makes It Harder for You To Listen
Listening skills are as crucial for efficient communication, if not more, than speaking skills. It’s nearly impossible to add something of value to a discussion or carry a conversation forward if you are fast-talking and not actively listening. Poor listening skills can also hurt your relationships because you could say something you didn’t mean.
Once you’ve spiraled into the verbal and physical results of nervousness and rapid speech, you’ve lost your ability to listen to your audience and how they are receiving your message. When you are too focused on yourself and delivering your message, you are not connecting with your audience through verbal and non-verbal cues.
3 Ways To Catch Yourself When You’re Talking Too Fast
- Use Poised To Analyze Your Talking Speed
One of the first methods to implement if you’re a fast talker is to monitor your speaking rate. When you observe yourself speaking too fast, you can simply pause and slow down. This habit can be hard to break if it is ingrained or you are prone to nervousness.
So, why not use a tool like Poised to help? The Poised AI communication tool gives you real-time feedback. It observes your performance and suggests immediate corrections, breaking this habit once and for all.
Poised works seamlessly in the background prompting you to slow down without your audience knowing. With Poised, you have access to a library of lesson plans specifically for managing nerves, breathing, and intentional pauses.
The Poised AI communication coach helps you build new habits and fast-track your way to becoming a better communicator. Whether you’re cold-calling a potential customer, giving a Ted Talk, or auditioning for a starring role in the latest Netflix show, it’s easy to make your voice rise above the crowd.
- Think Before You Speak
Imagine that you are in a group discussion about international relations, and you accidentally blurt out that the capital of China is Bangkok in a hurry. It wasn’t because you didn’t know that Thailand’s capital is Bangkok.
Instead, it was that you didn’t take the time to process or think before you spoke. Of course, an incident such as this can reduce your credibility, but you could avoid it if you pause to think beforehand.
To break old habits, you must create new ones. For example, take some time to think before you speak by implementing intentional pauses. Pauses allow you to coordinate your thoughts coherently, improving your speaking rate and message delivery.
Every time you speak, you can pause and think about what you’re saying first. Practicing with repetition will help you develop it into a permanent habit and improve your communication skills in the long run.
- Prioritize Listening Over Talking
When you view each speaking opportunity as a shared experience with your listener, it becomes easier to listen over talking. And when you prioritize listening to your audience, you ensure you are connecting with them, using intentional pauses for reflection, and delivering a relevant and compelling message.
In one on one conversations, it is respectful to wait until they're finished speaking before responding to show you are actively listening. It can also be tempting to offer advice when a friend or coworker shares a problem or concern with you, especially if you are a good problem solver.
However, it’s wise to wait to give guidance unless they specifically ask for it. Sometimes people share their concerns in the workplace to bond with colleagues or to make you aware of a problem.
Lastly, ask your audience or listener questions and observe your listeners' reactions and body language as you talk. These are verbal and non-verbal cues you can use to understand them better and continue to improve your communication skills.
The Bottom Line
Fast-talking is a common but preventable communication habit. Most people rarely have natural speaking and communication skills. Becoming a better communicator requires dedication and commitment. You can reverse fast-talking and improve your communication skills with tools such as Poised. Find out how today.
Do You Talk Too Fast? How to Slow Down | Psychology Today
How to Slow Down if You Talk Too Fast | Inc.com
Show Don't (Just) Tell | Stanislaus State
Learnings About Learning Styles | Western Governors University