Speed of Voice - The Pace of Your Presentation Can Heavily Impact How Well it Lands

John Papa on March 29, 2019

Are you a storyteller on stage? Do you want to engage and inspire your audience comfortably and naturally? The great news is that you have one o... [Read Full]
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I've been a public speaker for over a decade now and this is one of the first things I teach to new speakers. Just to add something to this already great advice, something that flows through everything when you prepare to influence people:

Emulate your audience, then change them. If the audience is subdued, talk slowly, capture them where they are. Then when you are with them you can change the pacing from that and they will follow you. If you start off being energetic they will react, but they will not follow.

On the other hand, if the audience is buzzing with excitement over the subject or the previous presentation or it's just one of those days or events where everyone is energetic, then you can't start off slowly or they will judge you as boring right off the bat. Start off energetic and capture them, then you can slow down and they will follow.

This is advice that you can follow in other advice as well, like tone or volume of your voice, what clothes you should use. With clothes you should emulate your expected audience and dress a bit more sharply, excentric, relaxed or whatever you want to project. If you are dressed in a fine suite and you talk to casually dressed people it will be hard to connect to them, but casual with a tie, suit pants and a shirt with the top button undone or something might bring them aboard and still let you project as a sharply dressed business person. And of course if you have a board of directors that are all in suits and ties you can use that sharp casual thing as well rather than coming in a worn out t-shirt. You will still come off as a relaxed person that are in touch with the working force of the company.

Great series of articles to do John, looking forward to the rest of it.


Great advice, John!

A lot of people speak either too fast or too slow, but they aren't aware of it. That's why I recommend to ask a friend for feedback on how your pace actually is, instead of relying on self-assessment only.


Thanks John, great post with some great tips! I actually wrote a post about presentation skills just the other week. Wonder if this is something you can expand on in your series.


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