Could you repeat that?

I made the dreaded customer service call…

When it comes to shopping, I am a “see it-feel it-touch it” kind of person. That makes online shopping a challenge for me. I don’t want surprises when the box arrives, so sometimes I make the dreaded call to customer service for more information.

Most of the time, the frustration comes from the wait time, but last week a representative answered promptly. Unfortunately, she spoke so quickly I struggled to understand what she said, from her name, to the product information, to the price.

She repeated herself when asked, but I sensed her impatience, and she sensed mine. Needless to say, I took my business elsewhere.

Speech rate is a necessary component of speaking clearly, especially over the telephone.

Below are a few exercises to improve your rate of speech. They will teach you to slow down and speak clearly.

Don’t give your customers or clients a reason to take their business somewhere else. Take your time; it will save you in the long run.

5 exercises to slow your rate of speech

  1. Practice.
    Select an article from a newspaper or magazine. Highlight the punctuation, then read the article aloud. Make a conscious effort to pause when you see a comma, period, or question mark.
  2. Breathe.
    The end of a sentence is the perfect time to pause and take a breath. This will help slow your rate of speech.
  3. Pronunciation.
    Make an effort to say each word completely when you read and speak. Slower speech allows time for all the sounds in a word to be produced. When your rate of speech is in the average range (120-150 words per minute), your speech will be easier for others to understand.
  4. Awareness.
    Listen to the speech rate of others. TV news reporters, especially the anchors, maximize the power of the pause. Count the pauses in each segment next time you watch a TV news report.
  5. Emulate.
    When you are conveying information, whether at work or at home, emulate the style of broadcast journalists. Pause after each thought or piece of important information. A pause gives your listeners time to process what you have said and to anticipate what you will say next.

Photo credit: By user Onetwo1 via Wikimedia Commons.