Perhaps you’ve been told that you speak too fast in English? And when you make a concerted effort to slow down, you find that you’re still getting a puzzled—I can’t catch what you’re saying—look? You realize in that moment that you don’t really know how to slow down your spoken English. How to adjust your pace. You understand the need and this seems simple enough but in reality, you don’t know what to do.
4 Ways to Slow Down Your Spoken English
- Move your mouth. Enunciate the clear vowel sounds by moving your lips, jaw, and mouth to stretch out the sounds. On day 1 of any given speech training program, we concentrate on mouth movement exaggeration while talking about both work & non-work related topics, such as A current project or The strangest thing you have ever eaten. Take out a mirror to make sure you’re over stretching your mouth muscles. You’re probably not going to talk like this in a meeting or with a client, but getting in the habit of enunciating your vowel sound clearly will help you to slow down your spoken English.
- Speak from the diaphragm. Concentrate on projecting your sound from this muscle at the bottom of your rib cage. In your first (or second or third) language, you may be accustomed to producing sound from your throat or upper chest. Professional public speakers who receive coaching are usually told to speak from the diaphragm so that they sound louder and more confident. Directing your spoken-English air from your diaphragm-lungs-chest-throat-and mouth will indeed slow down your speech. Think about it: It takes more time for the air to travel such a long distance!
- Articulate the medial & final consonants. The consonants are the spine of spoken English. They help hold up what goes around them—namely the vowel sounds. Making a concerted effort to produce these sounds will also help you to slow down your spoken English.
- Incorporate small pitch changes mindfully. When producing a stressed vowel sound, visualize the pitch change falling in the back of your throat and onto the consonant sound which follows. I’ve noticed over the years that when speakers have a difficult time producing the medial consonants, this helps. You may be technically producing sound at the same speech rate, but it will more than likely be perceived as slower.
Start with a Solid Spoken-English Foundation
If English is your first language, these four tips for how to slow down your spoken English may be enough.
If English is not your first language and you are needing to improve your speech clarity in English, these four ways of slowing down are a good place to start. They can help you to both slow down and develop a solid foundation for improving your sounds and rhythm in English.
Need a little help?
Join us February 1-March 8 (Thursdays, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm) for an intensive 6-week Advanced English Pronunciation Skills for Professionals program in the Chicago Loop. I, Sarah Gallant, will help demystify the English sound system while sharing specific techniques and providing step-by-step guidance to help you improve your spoken English. Click HERE to learn more.
If you have any concerns or questions, email me, Sarah Gallant, at firstname.lastname@example.org OR, simply fill out the form below.