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Average Words Per Minute Speaking: Why It Matters

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Average Words Per Minute Speaking

Speaking is one thing that we all do each and every day, and few of us give it any thought. Knowing how fast you speak can, however, be invaluable – this can help you to understand your own speaking style as well as the way in which others perceive you.

We took a closer look at your average words per minute speaking speed, as well as the tips you can use to improve your talking speed, and your overall presentation skills.

What Is The Average Words Per Minute For Speaking?

Average Words Per Minute Speaking

One may wonder, “How many words does the average person speak per minute?”

The average speaking rate is 150-160 words per minute (WPM) for podcasters. This can vary with context and individual differences, ranging from 110-250 WPM. Radio presenters or podcasters may speak faster than the average rate.

Average Words Per Minute (WPM) by Speaking Context:

ContextAverage Words Per Minute (WPM)
Presentations100-150 wpm
Conversational120-150 wpm
Audiobooks150-160 wpm
Radio hosts and podcasters150-160 wpm
Auctioneers250 wpm
Commentators250-400 wpm

Words to Minutes Calculator – Podcast Episode Timing

Planning your podcast episode? Use this simple calculator to find out how long your script will take to deliver. Enter your script length and choose your speaking speed. Get results instantly to help manage your episode timing perfectly. This free tool is great for podcasters who want to plan their episodes and keep their audience engaged.

Words to Minutes Calculator




How to Determine Your Speaking Rate:

Being able to calculate this and adapt your average WPM can greatly enhance one’s communication skills and ensure effective delivery of information.

Speaking Rate Calculation Formula
  1. Choose a Passage:
    • Select a passage or piece of text that is around 200-300 words long. This length is ideal because it’s long enough to get an average rate but short enough to be manageable.
  2. Set a Timer:
    • Before you start reading, set a timer. Smartphones usually come with a stopwatch function that will work perfectly for this.
  3. Read Aloud:
    • Read the passage out loud, just as you would in a conversation or presentation. Ensure you’re not rushing or deliberately slowing down; aim for a natural pace.
  4. Stop the Timer:
    • Once you’ve finished reading, stop the timer and note down the time taken.
  5. Calculate Your WPM:
    • To determine your speaking rate in words per minute (WPM), divide the total number of words in the passage by the time taken in minutes to read it.
  6. Factor in Variability:
    • Your speaking rate can vary depending on context, mood, or the complexity of the content. It might be helpful to repeat the process with different types of passages (e.g., technical content vs. casual conversation) to get a range of your speaking speeds.
  7. Practice & Adjust:
    • If you feel your speaking rate is too fast or too slow for your intended audience or purpose, practice adjusting it. Using a metronome can be helpful to maintain a consistent pace.
  8. Consider External Feedback:
    • Sometimes, we’re not the best judges of our speaking pace. It can be beneficial to get feedback from peers or mentors. They can provide insights into whether you’re speaking too fast, too slow, or just right.
  9. Use Technology:
    • Several apps and online tools can automatically calculate your speaking rate by analyzing a recorded sample of your speech.

Remember, while determining your speaking rate is useful, it’s also essential to pay attention to clarity, intonation, and enunciation. The goal is to communicate effectively, and sometimes that might mean adjusting your pace to ensure comprehension.

Want more awesome stats, check out the latest podcast statistics.

Speaking Rate (WPM) of Professional Speakers

The average speaking rate of professional speakers is 167 words per minute (WPM).

Average Words Per Minute Speaking Rate Professional Speakers

It’s important to note that while Steve Jobs’ talk isn’t from the regular TED conferences, it’s featured on the TED website. This presentation, given by the late visionary, stands as a masterclass in capturing audience attention and delivering a poignant message.

Tony Robbins, the fastest speaker on our list, epitomizes that speed need not compromise clarity. His crystal-clear articulation and lucid language ensure his message is understood, irrespective of the brisk pace.

For any speaker, it’s paramount to adjust their speaking rate to match their audience’s listening comfort. Racing through content might lose listeners, while a languid pace could let their attention drift. The art lies in striking that perfect equilibrium.

Optimal Script Length for Podcast Episodes

As podcasting continues to gain traction as a favored medium for content delivery, understanding the ideal script length for varying episode durations can be invaluable. The table below provides a guideline for scriptwriters and podcasters, ensuring content remains engaging and concise for listeners. By aligning the script length with the intended duration, creators can better plan, structure, and deliver their content for maximum impact. Dive in to discover the recommended word count for your next episode!

Desired Episode Duration ⏰Recommended Script Length (Words) 📜
15 minutes ⌛2000 words 🖊️
20 minutes ⌛3000 words 🖊️
30 minutes ⌛4500 words 🖊️

See: How Long Should a Podcast Be

Factors That Influence The Speed Of Speech Of The Average Person

There are many factors that influence the speed that an average person speaks, including:

The Culture You Were Raised In

It might sound crazy, but the culture you were raised in can have a significant impact on the speed with which you speak. Some cultures and languages naturally speak at a much faster speed than other languages and cultures, and this can have a serious impact on your words per minute.

If you grew up speaking a first language that is naturally fast-paced, such as Spanish or Italian, then it is likely that you will speak at a faster rate than someone who grew up speaking a language with slower speech rates, such as English.

Slower speakers might take two seconds to say a word, while faster speakers could say the same word in half a second. This difference may not seem like much, but it can add up over time. If you speak for five minutes, you will likely say twice as many words as the slow speaker.

Additionally, if you are used to hearing the average person speak quickly, you may find it difficult to adjust to slower speech patterns. Slow speakers can often be frustrating for natives who speak faster, who may find themselves impatient or lost.

The good news is that, no matter what your natural speech rate is, you can learn to speak at a slower pace if you need to.

Just remember to take your time and focus on speaking clearly, rather than worrying about the number of words you are saying. With practice, you will be able to find the perfect balance for you.

How Confident You Feel

Your confidence level also has a huge effect on the speed with which you speak. If you feel confident, you’ll naturally speak slower and evenly than if you are feeling insecure.

If you are nervous, you are more likely to rush your speech with faster than average speaking speed and trip over your words. A good speaker is able to control their speed and use it to their advantage.

World Fastest Speaker

Stephen Peter Woodmore (13 December 1959 – 6 February 2023) was a British salesman recognized for his extraordinary speech speed, articulating at 637 words per minute (wpm) — four times faster than average.

He held the Guinness World Record for the world’s fastest talker from August 1990, succeeding John Moschitta Jr. However, in 1995, Sean Shannon from Canada surpassed him with a speed of 655 wpm.
Source: Wikipedia.

How Comfortable You Are With Public Speaking

Finally, the comfort level that you feel when you are speaking in public can have a major impact on your speaking rate. If you are not used to being in front of large groups of people, you may find that you struggle to keep up a steady pace, thus speaking faster, and may rush your speech.

Good speakers, such as those from popular Ted talks, have often had a lot of practice and experience in public speaking, which has helped them to become more comfortable and confident when addressing large audiences.

Tips To Improve The Speed Of How The Average Person Speaks

As you can see from our list above, several different aspects affect the speed of your speech. However, there are some simple things that you can do to improve your speaking rates.

Slow Down When Talking About Difficult Topics

When you are discussing difficult topics, such as politics or religion, it is important to think carefully about what you say. If you speak too quickly, you are going to run the risk of making mistakes and sounding awkward.

Instead, try to speak slowly and deliberately, and make sure that you pause between each sentence.

Practice Before Giving Presentations

Practice makes perfect, and this applies to speaking as well. If you are planning on giving a presentation, practice speaking slowly and pausing frequently.

Try to avoid rushing through your speech, and instead focus on getting all of your points across without any mistakes. This will help you to feel more confident and relaxed and will allow you to speak more easily.

ALSO SEE: Lapel Mic For Podcast

Practice Reading Out Loud

Reading out loud is one of the best ways to improve your talking speed because it forces you to slow down and pay attention to how you speak, especially when you’re reading complicated words. It also helps you to learn to control your breathing, which is another factor that affects your speaking speed.

Speak Clearly And Slowly

You should always aim to speak clearly, slowly, and at a comfortable pace – even if you are nervous. If you speak too fast, you are more likely than ever to trip over your words, and this will only add to your stress levels and mental fatigue.

As we mentioned earlier, nerves can cause you to breathe faster, so take note of your breath rate, and try to slow it down slightly.

Take Deep Breaths

Taking deep breaths before talking will help you to relax, and will give you time to prepare yourself for your presentation. People speak more quickly when they are nervous or anxious, so it is important to try and stay calm.

If you are tackling complex content, it can be helpful to slow down your thoughts by taking a few moments to pause and think about what you want to say before you start speaking. This will help you to organize your thoughts and ensure that you are saying what you want to say.

Taking deep breaths will also help you to calm down, and will reduce the chances of you tripping over your words, as well as help you maintain a regular speaking rate.

Why Does Speaking Speed Matter?

Why Does Your Speech Speed Matter?

When you are speaking publicly, the speed of your speech is important and can offer you a number of advantages when delivering a speech. These include:

Increasing Your Credibility

If you have a high speaking rate, then you are at risk of sounding as though you are trying to convince everyone around you that you know what you are talking about.

This is something that many speakers would want to avoid, but if you speak at an appropriate pace, then you can be seen as credible and trustworthy.

Radio hosts and TED Talk speakers are known for speaking slowly and deliberately, as this helps to engage the audience and build trust.

Improving Your Audience’s Attention Span

Speaking too quickly can lead to your audience losing interest in what you are saying. They may find themselves nodding off, or they might start to look bored, which means that they won’t be paying close attention to what you have to say.

By contrast, speaking slowly allows them to listen carefully and absorb everything that you have to say.

ALSO SEE: How To Make Your Podcast Popular

Avoiding Slips Of The Tongue

Speaking too quickly can mean that you are more likely than usual to slip up and accidentally say something embarrassing.

For example, if you are talking about your favorite movie, and you say “I love watching movies with my friends”, then you could end up saying something like “I love watching movies alone”. This kind of slip-up is not acceptable, and it is easy to see why.

Understanding Speaking Rates: Common Questions Answered

How Fast Does The Average Podcaster Speak?

The average podcaster speaks at a rate of approximately 150 to 160 words per minute. The average professional speaker is slightly higher at 167 WPM (words per minute).

How long is a 2 minute speech?

A 2-minute speech is typically 300 to 320 words, based on an average speaking rate of 150-160 words per minute (WPM).

How many words is a 5 minute speech?

A 5-minute speech would be around 750 to 800 words using the average speaking rate.

Is 100 words per minute fast speaking?

Speaking at 100 WPM is slightly below the average conversational rate, so it’s not considered fast.

Is 150 wpm speaking fast?

Speaking at 150 WPM is about average for most people, especially in presentations and general conversations.

Is speaking 200 words a minute fast?

Speaking at 200 WPM is faster than average and is typically seen in enthusiastic or rapid conversations.

How long is a 700 word speech?

A 700-word speech would last roughly 4.5 to 5 minutes at an average speaking rate.

Is 150 words per minute good for a speech?

Yes, 150 WPM is a good rate for a speech as it’s comfortable for listeners and ensures clarity.

Is it possible to speak 300 words per minute?

Speaking at 300 WPM is extremely fast. While some individuals like certain record-holders can achieve it, it’s beyond the average speaking rate for most people and can challenge comprehension.

Final Thoughts On How Many Words You Can Say Per Minute

Your speaking speed isn’t fixed, it’s something you can change with time. By utilizing our guidelines, not only can you determine your words-per-minute rate, but you can also refine your speech to be more composed, captivating, and effective for your listeners.

Other sources:
Science Focus

Matt Brook

With a background in Journalism and years of experience in the industry, Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the WiredClip team.

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