1. Speak Using Intonation, Particularly the Staircase Approach
Mastering the skill of intonation and speech rhythm will also complement your speed because you will be speaking with controlled pitch patterns and phrases. Your speech articulators will also be in a better position to follow through and say all of your ending sounds. When you use the Staircase Approach for intonation while practicing with one of the strategies presented below for speed, your overall speaking rate and articulation will sound clear, professional and you will be perceived as well spoken.
2. Feel Your Articulators Touch
Control your rate of speech by feeling your articulators make contact with one another. Your articulators are your lips, teeth, tongue, jaw and facial muscles. When speaking, feel your lips and jaw move as they touch, as well as your tongue contacting your teeth and jaw. The purpose of this strategy is for you to feel and notice the tactile sensation from your mouth while speaking. If you cannot feel the tactile sensation in your mouth from your articulators while talking, then you are speaking too fast. Take a moment to feel the contact in your mouth from your different articulators. Using this strategy will significantly help you reduce your speed. To demonstrate the amount of sensation that can be noticed, count from one to four and feel what your articulators are doing.
3. Say Every Sound in Every Word as You Travel Down the Staircase
When speaking, concentrate on producing every sound in every word. Think of saying all of your sounds, particularly the ones at the ends of words. Be certain to say every sound in multi-syllable words. Give yourself the "mantra" of " say every sound in every word " as a way to prompt yourself to use this strategy. When this technique is used you are more aware of your articulators (i.e., lips, tongue and jaw) moving at a controlled rate so they do not trip over one another during connected speech. This strategy will assist you with slowing down your rate of speed while improving your overall articulation.
4. Hold your Vowel Sounds Longer
Many speakers who have a fast rate will often cut the duration of "long" vowel sounds too short. You want to get your message out fast so you chop the longer sounds. American and professional speech has both long and short vowel sounds that need to be said correctly to avoid sounding choppy to your listener. Be sure you hold your vowel sounds, especially the long ones, for the appropriate amount of time.
5. Match your Rate with Another Speaker
Be aware of other people's speech habits and identify other fast talkers. Then, find people who speak at a controlled and pleasant rate. When you can identify fast talkers and people who have a pleasant rate your awareness of your own speech behavior will be significantly improved. Think of family members, co-workers and friends and identify those who are fast talkers and who are not. Write down the three fast talkers and controlled speech talkers in your speech notebook for improving your own awareness. When you have an opportunity to speak with someone you feel is a good speech model, match your speaking rate with his or her speed during conversation. You may feel like you are speaking too slowly. You are not! Remember, you are the fast talker and need to slow down. If this new strategy feels funny or convoluted then you are probably doing it correctly!