Slow down. What’s the hurry?

Speech behaviors are things that people do while they talk. Speech behaviors are varied and can include things like clearing your throat too much; using extra words as fillers such as like, totally, um; speaking without inflection and appropriate word stress; not using your voice effectively by talking too softly; and talking too fast. Speakers can be unaware of them. However, since speech behaviors can be distracting to the listener and negatively impact your overall communication effectiveness, they are important to think about.

Slowing your rate of speaking is easily the most critical speech behavior a person can work to achieve. Even though modifying a behavior and creating a new habit can be very difficult, this one is definitely worth the effort!

Here are some good reasons to slow your speech down, starting today.

TO RAISE YOUR AWARENESS OF YOUR SPEECH PATTERNS
Pronouncing the new sounds you have learned involves using mouth movements that are new to you. When you raise your awareness about HOW you are speaking, will you have time to move your mouth using good jaw movement, lip retraction and rounding.

TO BREAK BAD SPEECH HABITS
Speaking too fast is a bad speech habit that leads to more bad speech habits such as running words together, distorting sounds, dropping words and making grammar errors.

TO ESTABLISH NEW SPEECH HABIT
Speech production involves sequences of complex muscle movements. Every time you say something correctly, you are strengthening the motor memory for that sequence of movements and moving closer to establishing automaticity in your speech.

TO BE IN CONTROL
The only way to gain control of your mouth movement and to be sure about what is going to come out of your mouth when you talk, is to reduce your rate of speaking.

TO BE RESPONSIBLE
Speaking slowly shows you are accepting responsibility for your speech and that you care about your communication partner, the person you are talking to. This is polite.

TO SHOW THAT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING HAS VALUE
What you are talking about matters. Speaking slowly underscores this. Clear speech demonstrates to people that your words and the information you are sharing has value and that you care that people understand it.

TO DEMONSTRATE CONFIDENCE
People who speak slowly and as clearly as they can show that they are confident in themselves and what they are saying. Speaking rapidly and running words together makes the listener uneasy and can make them doubt the validity of what you are saying.

TO USE CORRECT STRESS AND INTONATION PATTERNS
In American English, emphasizing or stressing the right word or phrase in a sentence is part of being an effective communicator. You will have time to use the correct stress and intonation patterns that are the cornerstone of an American accent only when you are speaking slowly.