To be understood in English, you’ll need to use English sounds, link expected words together, and move your intonation up and down reducing less important words, and stressing more important words.
If you’re talking too fast for others to understand you, here’s what can happen:
- Your message will be lost. Some folks will just nod, but they have no idea what you said.
- People will avoid talking with you. Talking too fast makes work for the listener, and often we are too tired, or too lazy, to work that hard at understanding you.
- Running words and sentences together without pausing confuses your message and makes it harder to understand.
Follow some simple rules to slow down in English and be understood better:
- Know your reasons for talking fast. Are you nervous? Get prepared for your talk and practice. Are you talking fast so no one will notice your accent? Believe me, often that makes your accent worse! Get some training in pronouncing English sounds, and correctly linking and reducing words in sentences.
- Group your sentences into understandable phrases. Pause between each phrase.
- Watch your listener for signs of understanding. You can probably tell when someone does not understand you by the look on their face. Stop talking, and ask them what part they did not understand.
- Breathe Deep. If you breathe deep, you HAVE TO stop talking. Breathing a little deeper will also support your voice for longer sentences.
- Punctuation is your guide to pausing. Take pauses 1) after commas, 2) between thought groups and 3) at the end of a sentence.
- Ask a trusted friend for feedback.
- Practice to get comfortable with more or longer pausing.
Good luck speaking English!