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Average Words Per Minute Speaking: Why It Matters

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Average Words Per Minute Speaking

Understanding your speaking pace can unlock new levels of communication effectiveness and personal insight. While many overlook the importance of speaking speed, it plays a crucial role in connecting and conveying our messages to others.

This exploration delves into the nuances of your average speaking rate, providing actionable advice to refine your verbal delivery and overall presentation skills.

Let’s explore the common pitfalls in speech delivery and master the art of impactful communication, backed by research indicating that influential speakers adjust their speed to match their message and audience.

📝 Key Takeaways

  • 📊 Ideal speeds vary from 100-150 WPM for presentations to 250-400 WPM for commentators.
  • 🕰️ Time yourself reading aloud to identify your average pace and areas for improvement.
  • 📈 Your cultural background, confidence, and public speaking comfort significantly impact your speaking speed.
  • 💻 Practice, feedback, and technology can help you fine-tune your speaking rate for clearer communication.

What Is The Average Words Per Minute For Speaking?

what's the average wpm 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 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 determine how long your script will take to deliver. Enter your script length and choose your average 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

Calculating this and adapting your average WPM can greatly enhance communication skills and ensure effective information delivery.

speaking rate calculation
  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 have a stopwatch function that works perfectly for this.
  3. Read Aloud:
    • Read the passage out loud, just as you would in a conversation or presentation. Do not rush or deliberately slow 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 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. Repeating the process with different types of passages (e.g., technical content vs. casual conversation) might help you get a range of your average speaking speed.
  7. Practice & Adjust:
    • If your speaking rate is too fast or slow for your intended audience or purpose, practice adjusting it. Using a metronome can help maintain a consistent pace.
  8. Consider External Feedback:
    • Sometimes, we do not judge our speaking pace best. 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 speech sample.

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

Speaking Rate (WPM) of Professional Speakers

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

professional speakers average wpm

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, is a masterclass in capturing the audience’s 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.

Speakers must 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 to ensure 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 🖊️

➡️How Long Should a Podcast Be?

Factors That Influence The Speed Of Speech Of The Average Person

average person speach speed

Many factors influence the speed at an average person speaks, including:

The Culture You Were Raised In

It might sound crazy, but the culture you were raised in can significantly impact your average speaking speed. Some cultures and languages naturally speak much faster than others, which can seriously impact your average WPM.

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 in half a second. This difference may not seem like much, but it can increase over time. If you speak for five minutes, you will likely say twice as many words as the slow speaker.

podcasting from home How to Create and Improve Your Podcast

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

The good news is that you can learn to speak slower if necessary, no matter your natural speech rate.

Just remember to take your time and focus on speaking rather than worrying about the number of words you say. With practice, you can find the perfect balance for you.

How Confident You Feel

Your confidence level also has a huge effect on your speaking speed. If you feel confident, you’ll naturally speak slower and more evenly than if you feel 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 can 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.

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

How Comfortable You Are With Public Speaking

Finally, your comfort level when speaking in public can significantly impact your speaking rate. If you are not used to being in front of large groups of people, you may struggle to keep up a steady pace, thus speaking faster and rushing your speech.

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

Tips To Improve The Speed Of How The Average Person Speaks

improve speed of speaking

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 discussing difficult topics, such as politics or religion, it is important to think carefully about what you say. If you speak too quickly, you risk 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 plan on giving a presentation, practice speaking slowly and pausing frequently.

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

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Practice Reading Out Loud

Reading aloud 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 reading complicated words.

It also helps you to learn to control your breathing, another factor affecting your speaking speed.

Speak Clearly And Slowly

You should always aim to speak slowly and comfortably—even if you are nervous. If you speak too fast, you are more likely than ever to trip over your words, increasing 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 relax and give you time to prepare for your presentation. People speak more quickly when nervous or anxious, so it is essential to 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 speaking. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure you say what you want.

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

Why Does Speaking Speed Matter?

 speaking correctly importance

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

Increasing Your Credibility

If you have a high speaking rate, you risk sounding like you are trying to convince everyone around you that you know what you are talking about.

Many speakers would want to avoid this, but if you speak at an appropriate pace, you can be seen as credible and trustworthy.

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

Improving Your Audience’s Attention Span

Speaking too quickly can cause your audience to lose interest. They may find themselves nodding off or looking bored, meaning they won’t pay close attention to what you say.

By contrast, speaking slowly lets them listen carefully and absorb everything you say.

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Avoiding Slips Of The Tongue

Speaking too quickly can make you more likely to slip up and accidentally say something embarrassing.

For example, if you talk about your favorite movie and say, “I love watching movies with my friends,” you could say, “I love watching movies alone.” This slip-up is unacceptable, and it is easy to see why.

FAQs: Average Words Per Minute Speaking

How Fast Does The Average Podcaster Speak?

The average podcaster speaks approximately 150 to 160 words per minute, while the average professional speaker is slightly higher at 167 WPM (words per minute).

How Fast Does the Average Person Talk?

The average person speaks at a rate of approximately 125 to 150 words per minute.

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.

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).

Final Thoughts On How Many Words You Can Say Per Minute

Your speaking speed isn’t fixed; it can change with time. Utilizing our guidelines, you can determine your words-per-minute rate and refine your speech to be more composed, captivating, and effective for your listeners.

Other sources:

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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