Speak Faster If Your Audience Disagrees, Slower If They Agree


If you know your audience, you can use speech rate to your advantage. Speak slower if they agree with you; speak faster if they disagree.

Photo by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

The speed of your speech plays a part in how your message is received. Speaking at a comfortable pace with deliberate pauses makes you more persuasive.

Following similar logic, The Daily Muse has a few words of advice based on the tricks used by persuasive people in their speeches:

In short: If you’re preaching to the choir, speak slowly; if not, speak quickly. And if your audience is neutral or apathetic, speak quickly so you’ll be less likely to lose their attention.

Speaking faster gives dissidents lesser time to form counterpoints and more easily persuades them. Speaking slower lets those likely to believe you stack your rationale on top of their own bias to form a stronger opinion in your favour.

Of course, speech is just one small part of the overall act of persuading someone. You need to do more to convince someone to buy into your ideas.

9 Secrets Of Incredibly Persuasive People (That You Should Steal) [The Daily Muse]


  • Heh. It’s funny because this is very similar to what I do when explaining technical things to management. If they’re actively interested in the mechanics of what’s going on, I can take my time to make sure it’s fully-absorbed while they’re receptive. If they’re just annoyed that something is getting in the way of results, a lot of information needs to either be conveyed for completeness/due diligence or skipped entirely to get to the point where we can start making them happy, already. Or, if not happy, at least provide a convincing target for orbital-strike ire.

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