The best marketers spend a lot of time understanding their target market.

Similarly, the best communicators spend a lot of time thinking about their “audience.”  Whether they’re up on stage communicating with a formal audience, or casually chatting with a colleague in the hallway, the best communicators focus on others.

Another way to thinking about this is in terms of CUSTOMIZATION.  When we customize our communication to be ideal for that audience, they feel valued and the communication is more impactful.

Here are 3 suggestions to help you improve your communication effectiveness by  CUSTOMIZING your CADENCE to ideally suit your audience.


1. Vary Your Pace

Generally speaking, our goal when communicating is to maximize ENGAGEMENT and COMPREHENSION

If you speak too fast, your speech may lack clarity

Talk About Talk #113 - Cadence - image of the legs and feet of marathon runners
Image by Pavel1964 from Gerry Images Pro/Canva

…but If you speak at a completely steady, even pace, you’ll probably come across as monotone and boring. (Think Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Anyone? Anyone?)

Try a combination of fast and slow. Fire off a few things to grab everyone’s attention, then pause for effect.

By varying your PACE you’ll be more engaging AND your audience will better understand you.


2. Customize Based on Language Familiarity

Do you speak a language or with an accent that’s less familiar to your audience? This is a common challenge that I’m frequently asked about.

We ALL have an accent.  Does yours match your audience’s? If not, then chances are if you speak at your usual pace, your audience won’t catch everything. 

Two words:

Talk About Talk #113 - Cadence - image of a curving road with a large, orange sign reading "SLOW DOWN"
Image by georgeclerk from Gerry Images Signature/Canva

Each language has its own unique sound patterns. As my friend, voice coach Judith Weinman says, each language has its own unique music, as in rhythm, tone, and inflection.

So if your audience is unfamiliar with the music of your first language, do everyone a favour and SLOW DOWN!


3. Customize Your Sequence

What’s the best ORDER to present your information? What MEDIA would most effectively communicate it?

The answer depends on the communication preferences, even the personality of your audience.

Talk About Talk #113 - Cadence - quote by Jennifer Lee, Sr. Partner at Deloitte, on a dark blue background: "When you present material, the cadence of how it gets managed is really important... It all depends on the personality of the person you're talking to."

Customizing your sequence demonstrates two things to your audience:

  1. Their ability to comprehend the information matters to you.
  2. You value and respect their TIME.

Talk About Talk #113 - Cadence - quote by Andrea Wojnicki on a teal background: "Time is the one resource that we all value. Consider your time, your audience's time, and the pacing of your communication."

In our discussion on communicating with impact, Jennifer Lee suggested customizing your cadence by:

  • Pre-issuing material if possible
  • Asking at the beginning of a meeting what questions or topics they want to cover
  • Shifting your agenda if necessary

Remember, it’s not about your output, it’s about their absorption of the material.

That’s it for this week! I hope the latest Talk About Talk episode will give you some insights into how we can use CADENCE as a tool to optimize our communication.

If you know anyone who would be interested in learning more about cadence, please forward this email to them. THANK YOU! And if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please email me anytime!  

Talk soon,