reading selection again but force yourself to use a faster rate of speech to cut down the total
Fast, machine-gun delivery. Curb your impatience to blurt out ideas. Take time to make
them clear. Force yourself to slow down. Recognize the listeners need to absorb ideas; give
them time to do so by saying words clearly and by pausing longer between ideas. Read aloud,
observing the marks of punctuation. Express the meaning of the words carefully at the rate that
fits your interpretation. Taking care to enunciate more precisely will generally slow your rate.
Halting, choppy rate. Concentrate on speaking complete ideas or sentences. Take a deep
breath before you begin a sentence; breathe between, not in the middle of, ideas or phrases.
Sometimes a choppy rate results from tenseness, nervousness, or lack of familiarity with the
Pauses. In writing, punctuation marks separate thoughts and ideas and give the desired
meaning and emphasis to words. In speaking, pauses serve the same functions to a large degree.
You may use pauses to gain humorous, dramatic, or thought-provoking effects. Use them as
a vocal means of punctuating for effect. Proper use of pauses gives listeners a chance to absorb
ideas and gives the speaker a chance to breathe and concentrate on the next point. Pauses also
give emphasis, meaning, and interpretation to ideas.
The following suggestions will help you overcome common pausing difficulties:
Not enough pauses. Begin by reading aloud something that you like. Force yourself to
pause between ideas and at periods, commas, and other punctuation marks. Try to adopt the
attitude of the artist who makes a few brush strokes and then steps back to evaluate the results.
Too many pauses.
A lack of knowledge of the subject, failure to organize material
thoroughly, or inadequate rehearsals usually result in too many pauses in the speakers delivery.
Study your material and organize it on paper. Then rehearse until your thoughts and words
flow smoothly. Thorough familiarity with the subject matter increases verbal fluency.
Overuse of verbal connectors. Pauses, properly placed in the flow of speech, are often
more effective than words. Filling pauses with meaningless, guttural sounds gives listeners the
impression that you are not confident of what you are saying, and that you are not prepared
to speak to them.
Too many uhs and ahs may be detrimental to an otherwise effective
To improve on this difficulty, use the same techniques suggested for
eliminating too many pauses and leave out the uhs and ahs.
Inflection is a change in the normal pitch or tone of the speakers voice. Just as musical notes
become melody when arranged in different relative positions on the musical scale, your voice
becomes more interesting and words more meaningful when you use changes in pitch. Using
inflection can increase the emphasis on certain words.