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 Are The Average Words Per Minute For Speaking?

Average Words Per Minute Speaking

The average person speaks at about 150 words per minute (WPM) when they are reading or listening to someone else talk. This rate is known as conversational speech and is considered normal for most people.

This is based on the fact that most people don’t have to read out loud while they’re talking, so their rate will naturally slow down as they become more comfortable with what they are saying.

If you want to calculate your average WPM, then there’s an easy formula:

Start by recording yourself talking for a few minutes, and count the words that you speak. Then, divide this number of words by the number of minutes that you spoke for, and you will have your average words per minute.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Final Thoughts On How Many Words You Can Say Per Minute

You may be worried that your speech is something that you have no control over – but this is far from the case. By following our top tips, you can calculate your words per minute, and take steps to make sure that your speech is calm, relaxed, and engaging.

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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