Are you ruining your presentation by speaking quickly?

A presentation always has specific goals. You want to reach your audience with your information and invest a lot of time in preparation. But despite good topic research and professional PowerPoint slides, the audience apparently switches off after a short time during your presentation and does not listen any further. This could be because you are simply speaking too fast during your presentation.

Imagine you have prepared intensively for a PowerPoint presentation. Sifted through all the available material on the subject and summarized the most important information. You even had support from a renowned presentation agency when creating the slide set. You have practiced your speech intensively. The audience was handpicked and very interested in your presentation topic. On the day of the presentation, you go to the lectern highly motivated. But to your surprise, the auditorium’s attention wanes after a few minutes. The spectators look at each other and whisper to each other. The reason could be that no one could follow you because you spoke too fast.

Speaking too fast – one of the most common mistakes made by presenters

A small mistake that many speakers make, but one that is crucial in its impact, is speaking too quickly. In effect, it is somewhat comparable to omitting spaces between two words in a text. In both cases, it becomes very tiring to capture the message over a long period of time. In presentations, the audience simply gives up following the speaker after a few minutes if he talks too fast.

If you tend to talk a little too fast anyway, then you need to pay extra close attention to this problem during presentations. But even people who actually have a normal speaking pace should keep in mind that presenting in front of an audience almost always causes some inner turmoil. But when we are excited, we tend to talk faster.

Speaking too fast, will bring you many disadvantages in your presentation.

If you are not in control of your speaking tempo during your PowerPoint presentation, this will cause several disadvantages:


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1. the clarity and meaning of your messages are lost

When you rattle off quick explanations to your slides, it becomes difficult to pay attention to an engaging tone and clear articulation of words. You can direct the attention of your audience with small pauses or by changing the pitch. When you reel off your messages, your words have less impact and can be much harder to capture. That’s why your viewers eventually give up because they can barely follow you.

2. you leave an insecure impression

If you speak quickly during your presentation and don’t pause, it’s a sign of nervousness, lack of confidence, and stage fright. The audience will certainly not give you expert status for this. Moreover, at the end of your presentation, your audience will get the impression that you have not told anything important about the topic, because they have hardly listened to you anyway.

Some tips to avoid speaking too fast

Here are some tips to help you slow down your pace and get your message across to your audience.

1. listen to real presentation professionals

Listen to presenters on the Internet, for example at TED Talks. Pay attention to the pace and effectiveness of the presentation and try to pick up as much as you can for your next presentation.

2. deliberately practice slowing down your pace of speech.

About you properly and laughed with a practice audience (perhaps help friends or colleagues). Record yourself. All that is needed is a cell phone. If you get a cheap tripod, you can even film yourself doing exercises. Always critically check your pace of speech.

3. use a timing device or an app

To avoid running out of time at some point during your presentation and suddenly having to hurry up, you can use a timing app, such as Speaker Clock. The apps always notify you about the remaining time during your presentation.

4. you can ask the audience to give hand signals when the pace becomes too fast

If you know that you often speak too fast, you can let your audience in on it before you start your talk and ask for a show of hands if you pick up the pace unnoticed. If you admit that you often speak a bit fast, your frankness may well arouse sympathy in your audience.


The right pace of speech is very important for getting your message across. If you speak too slowly, your audience will soon get bored. If you speak too fast, your audience will lose attention in frustration because they can’t follow you. The average speaking rate for presenters is about between 120 – 150 words per minute. However, this is only a guideline, which you can of course vary in order to deliberately say a significant sentence slowly, for example.


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