Recently I learned about 2 records held by John F. Kennedy that I hadn’t heard before:
- FAST-TALKING – In Dec. 1961, JFK set the record for public speaking at 327 words-per-minute. (That’s like listening to a podcast at 3x the regular speed!)
- SLOW-TALKING – During his inaugural address, JFK spoke at a remarkably slow rate of only 96.5 wpm.
Clearly, JFK understood the importance of CADENCE.
CADENCE refers to your pacing. It’s how fast you speak, aka your WPM (words-per-minute). In other words, your timing.
Image by kinyapin_aleksey from Gerry Images/Canva
Two things happened recently that told me now’s the time to devote a Talk About Talk episode to CADENCE:
- Jennifer Lee specifically mentioned cadence in our recent conversation about communicating with impact. (Thank you, Jennifer!)
- I received a question from a listener about managing speed while speaking. (Thank you, Steven!)
- Slow talking is anything <110 wpm. (JFK’s slow inauguration speech was 96.5 wpm)
- Conservational speech is 120-150 wpm.
- Podcasters typically speak at 150-160 wpm.
- Auctioneers speak in the range of 250-400 wpm!
🐇 FAST-TALKING conveys urgency, passion, excitement, and emotion.
🐢 SLOW-TALKING conveys significance and seriousness.
affects how you are perceived.
USING CADENCE TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION
Here are 3 ways you can use CADENCE to help you improve your communication effectiveness:
#1. Ask for FEEDBACK – Ask a trusted colleague for general feedback on your speech, and if you learn that you speak too fast or too slow, move on to…
Which brings me to…
#3. CUSTOMIZE your cadence – Ask yourself what you need to do to ensure your audience stays engaged AND understands you. This is where you can move beyond your WPM to consider your sequence and media choices.
CADENCE is just one of the many tools in our communication toolbox. I hope this week’s Talk About Talk episode will help you leverage this tool!
There’s lots more going on at Talk About Talk. I hope you’ll explore some of the communication skills learning opportunities on the website and below.
If you know anyone who would appreciate tips on optimizing their cadence and their communication, please forward this email. THANK YOU! And if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please email me or record your question here. I love hearing from you!
Executive Communication Coach
Most Recent 🎧Podcast Episodes:
#112 – Communicating with IMPACT
#111 – What’s Your SUPERPOWER?
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