My Surprising Public Speaking Discovery: What Great Speakers Do (and why many coaches are wrong)

I’ve dedicated my life to studying the art of public speaking.

I’ve read over one-hundred books on presentation skills and persuasion.

What’s the one tip I read in almost every book?

Speak slower.

Many public speaking coaches advise that if you want to be a powerful speaker, you should s-l-o-w down.

This is true to some extent, especially if you’re someone who speaks super-super fast.

“However, after studying great speakers, I’ve found that the best speakers don’t speak slowly: they speak at a relatively rapid rate.


Because it keeps the energy level high.

Want some proof?

Check out the videos of the speakers below:


Anthony Robbins


Chip Eichellberger


Willie Jolley


Les Brown


Of-course, I’m not saying that you should speak at a super fast pace!

I’m simply suggesting to you that you speak at your normal conversational rate (unless your friends tell you that you speak too fast or too slow, in which case you need to make the appropriate adjustments).

Similarly, you’ll notice that while the speakers highlighted in this post do speak at a relatively fast pace, they also know WHEN to slow down and when to pause to create tension and curiosity in the room.

Of-course, there are great speakers who speak at a slow-pace, so there is no right or wrong speaking pace; it’s just my observation that many of the top motivational speakers speak at a fluent and fast (conversational) pace, which I personally seem to enjoy.

Photo Credit: p_a_h via Compfight cc

What about you? What do you think?


2 thoughts on “My Surprising Public Speaking Discovery: What Great Speakers Do (and why many coaches are wrong)”

  1. I think this is a really good point. You need to generate energy and excitement in a speech sometimes, and the speed is key in doing that.
    I think that coaches tend to encourage people to slow down because the natural tendency for someone who is nervous about speaking (and the kind of person who might go to a coach or read a book about presenting) might tend to rush through such things to “get it over with”. Hence, the advice to slow down will probably be an appropriate adjustment in the majority of cases a coach deals with.
    But if you’re already comfortable with public speaking, getting the right pace can be something of an art.

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