Speaking rate – How fast is too fast?

Speaking Rate - How fast is too fast?I’m often asked whether how quickly we speak influences how well others understand us. If you speak clearly, speed shouldn’t be the reason why people misunderstand. But the problem is, as you speed up, it gets harder for you to speak clearly. If you drop your word endings and everything mumbles together, people might have a hard time understanding you. But, if you’re able to maintain crisp enunciation despite your quick pace, your listeners shouldn’t have a problem. More important than your speed is how you choose to group (or ‘chunk’) your words. Make sure that your pauses, no matter how short, are in logical places. You should pause according to your punctuation, after phrases and clauses or in order to emphasize important points.

So what is an average speaking pace? Listen for yourself and see what feels right to you. Which pace do you prefer? In the three recordings below, I’ve read this passage at three different rates: one hundred fifty words per minute, then two hundred words per minute, and finally two hundred fifty words per minute. Try this exercise by recording yourself reading this passage and then check your timing. This passage is exactly two hundred words.

Speaking Rate: 150 words per minute

Speaking Rate: 200 words per minute

Speaking Rate: 250 words per minute

So, what did you think? Which rate sounds best to you? How did you do when you timed yourself? If you aren’t comfortable reading this passage, choose any chunk of text that is 200 words long. To read at a rate of 150 words per minute, you should finish the passage in 1 minute, 20 seconds. 200 words per minute should, obviously, take you one minute, and a rate of 250 words per minute should take you about 48 seconds.

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  1. Antoinette Karidioula says:


    i want to go through a proficiency test(IELTS).So, as i work in a french speaking country-Cote d’ivoire-i need to have some listening courses in order to succeed with a good performance.That will certainly give me agreater reason to ask
    help and be able to go to U.K for some studies or else, that will help me prove that i can try to get a job in an international company …i mean, it’s a key to success for me.

    I love english.


  2. wala basheer says:

    Hi .. can you write these voices down so we want to know what’s the meaning of some word in these voices


  3. puja sodhi says:


    My name is Puja Sodhi and i am from New Delhi, India..Though New Delhi is not my home town and i belong to a small town district but have been staying in Delhi for so long because of my employment..

    I work as a Sr Manager in buying division for one of the Ecommerce Portal.. I guess this would be enough for the induction..

    Now i have gone through your web site and i really need to improve my pronunciation and Accent..

    During my regular conversation with different people i usually find that i lack in pronunciation and accent which at time gets emabarrising for me as the people with whom i deal they generally get a catch of me.

    Therefore i really need your assistance for further improvement

    I have gone through the speaking rate and 200 words per minute suits me

    Now please help me with some sessions so that i can feel more confident while speaking


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