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When I was 13, a boy at summer camp tapped me on the shoulder and suggested I become a female rapper, like Lil' Kim. He'd been listening to my conversation and couldn't figure out how my mouth formed words so quickly. Did I get a headache from listening to myself?

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The practical limit on speech is comprehension.

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When I am making presentations about public speaking or delivering a podcast yes, that really is me in the picture aboveI often talk about the perceptions formed based on the rate of speech of the presenter. If you have attended one of my Smart Talk keynotes or workshops, spoken with me on the phone youor listened to one of my podcastsyou would know that my natural rate of speech is quite fast.

When making presentations I speak how fast do people talk approximately words per minute wpmwhile an average American English speaker engaged in a friendly conversation speaks at a rate of approximately — wpm. Interestingly, publishers recommend books on tape to be voiced at wpm, auctioneers are generally wpm while the average reading rate is about wpm. However, as you may know, people how fast do people talk at different rates at different times. Natural speech includes bursts of more rapid speech and in addition, we are all capable of speaking faster and slower when we want.

Of course, there are also variations in speed associated with the situation in which the speech is being produced. We speak more rapidly if we are in a hurry, or saying something urgent, or trying not to be interrupted in a conversation. For many people, nervousness or excitement will also increase the rate of how fast do people talk. Conversely, we tend to speak more slowly when we are tired or bored. I know for me, I tend to talk more slowly and with more non-words um, ah, pauses, etc.

How to calculate your speaking rate

Clearly the emotional state of the speaker greatly influences the rate of speaking. Finally, I think there is also a cultural and personal element. In some places such as New York City, people tend to naturally talk faster, while in other locales people talk much slower. In addition, some people are naturally fast talkers, while others habitually speak slowly. I was a fast talker even as.

My mother was constantly telling me to slow down and breathe! We are used to measuring the speed at which someone can type, write or take shorthand dictation in terms of how many words per minute are how fast do people talk down. Some adjustment usually has to be made to penalize someone for going so rapidly that they make mistakes. In measuring speech, we can do the same thing — we can give someone a speaking task such as describing what their research is or what they did on their last vacation — and count how many words they speak how fast do people talk a given time period.

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So, are your ready to calculate your speech rate? You have two options.

How to determine your speaking rate

The first option is a more accurate measure of your speech rate, but how fast do people talk you to speak extemporaneously about a topic for one minute. Option One: Record, Talk and Count. Take out your tape recorder. Think of a topic you have a genuine interest in…your family, your research, and your favorite hobby.

Once you are ready, begin speaking and begin recording yourself. Be sure to speak for at least one minute on the topic.

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Then using the rewind function, play the tape back several times to count the of words you uttered in one minute. It is even better if you extemporaneously present and record one minute of your most recent presentation. Yes, really! I posted it here to this website — I think— in or so.

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The best way to do this would be simply to use a mobile device that will convert your speech to text. Just talk for one minute and capture the text. Then how fast do people talk and paste the text into a Word document and use the tool to count the words! For those of you that would prefer not to record yourself, here is another way to measure your speech rate. See how far you get after a minute has gone by. Count the of words you were able to express in one minute.

This is your presentation speech rate. This begins my test of my presentation speech rate. Using this method, I will measure my speech rate by reading the following sentences as if I am actually speaking how fast do people talk my normal manner. In our lab, we are determining what is required to turn deed proteins into active enzymes. Specifically, I am working with Bill Smith to add the functions of dinuclear enzymes to our des.

How many words does the average person say per day?

Our work has the potential to create small enzymes capable of replacing large natural ones that are difficult to express and purify. We found that opening the active site to substrate required using smaller side chains that resulted in destabilization of the protein structure. A detailed analysis suggested that we could stabilize the new enzyme structure by reengineering the turn in our protein.

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We demonstrated that the new enzyme adopts the desired conformation and can perform several reactions naturally catalyzed by much larger proteins. This work demonstrates that we can de new active sites, and is the first step to the de of active sites capable of novel chemistry.

It does. Research has shown that speaking rate influences how fast do people talk. In fact, a positive linear relationship has repeatedly been found between speech rate and perceived competence. In fact several studies found that faster rates of speech are associated with perceptions of competence, extraversion, and social attractiveness.

In other similar studies, listeners rated competence and social attractiveness higher for those speakers whose perceived and actual speaking rates were similar to their own than to those whose rates they believed to be how fast do people talk from their own. Obviously, other factors also influence perceptions of competence, extraversion and social attractiveness.

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What is important to remember is that your rate of speech does have an impact on the perceptions of your audience. Want to better manage the perceptions of others? Do you struggle with difficult conversations?

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Do you procrastinate when it comes to delivering feedback? Do you know how to effectively persuade and influence others?

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Learn this and more in Smart Talk. Let me hear an excerpt Let me read an excerpt. What Makes Your Nervous? How to Introduce Yourself. How to Get Rid of Ums and Ahs. Nonetheless, I want to turn this post on its head: I feel that presenters often try to rush through their material as quickly as possible and in doing so alienate their audience. Silence is a common occurrence in genuine dialogue. One of our strongest allies in being mentally present is to hold our silence longer how fast do people talk is comfortable.

Our natural discomfort with silence sometimes causes us to interrupt a silence in the conversation too soon. Frequently, before someone embraces a new perspective we are urging, they will go silent. They are doing the deep thinking required before they open to new perspectives. To interrupt this important exploration undercuts our ability to influence. Practice holding silence longer. Develop deeper silences within yourself so that you can hear through the noise to find the al of what others really mean. See the silence of your conversation not as dead silence, not as paralyzed silence, but as silence teeming with possibility.

Rushing is definitely NOT what this post is endorsing! It was just to talk about the perceptions of listeners. And I agree that pauses or silences are an important part of our speech. I like to say, just like in music, the pauses are an integral part of the beauty.


I have to say that everyone knows how to control speech when making a point. But, there are some like myself for whom the words come out of the mouth as quickly as the mind can think it — though, actually the mind thinks way quicker than the mouth can form and sound the words. Think of it from the other side.

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It is hard for some of us to deal with. The test material though is quite technical and a high syllable count. If you read that at wpm, it would sound very rushed, in fact it sounds rushed even atwhereas if you were talking how fast do people talk your friend about sport or relationships, might seem snail pace. Shorthand systems have always struggled to reach those verbatim speeds of or more, but there were thousands of court reporters that used to record by hand the utterings of even the fastest of orators.


Gregg Shorthand has records of up to wpm although the average person would get around half that speed after some years of study. I left out the uhs and ums, which were many. Am I supposed to leave out the prepositional words? I have been a fast talker as well as a chatterbox since I can remember. However, in my defense I speak clearly and how fast do people talk, geting my point across well. I also have an excellent memory, remembering trite facts and details said in passing about people I hardly know. That is interesting. I have never heard of connection between fast talkers and memory.

Thanks for sharing. Hi, My name is Fran Capo. About 11 wpm. I also do motivational speaking and am a stand up comic…needless to say I get a lot of material in, in a short time, but it is understandable and filled with quick punchlines. I enjoyed the information on your site.