Young people tend to infer that older adults are slower at processing information and more cognitively inflexible. They make these inferences based on the perception of their conversation partner as old, rather than based on information about their conversational ability.
One of the most obvious changes that comes with ageing is that people start doing things more slowly. Numerous studies have shown that ageing also affects language processing. Even neurologically healthy people speak, retrieve words and read more slowly as they get older.
For example, older adults produce less fluent and less complex speech in comparison with younger adults (Kemper et al., 2003).
It’s admirable to care about what you say, but if you speak too slowly, you may be perceived as boring, tired, or less intelligent than you are. To keep people awake and interested, learn to increase your speaking speech without losing articulation and thought clarity.
Our results showed that older adults (mean age 58 years old, range 50–73 years) read significantly slower (by 30%) compared to our young adults (mean age 23 years old, range 18–31 years).
Normal aging causes many changes to occur that can affect speech. As we age, our muscles become weaker, and this includes muscles in the throat and jaw. Along with this, there can be glandular and tissue changes. All of these factors combined can change our speech processes as we age.
Overall, the study found, the ideal manner of speech is not too fast but not too slow, not overly animated, and punctuated with frequent, short pauses. A speed of about 3.5 words per second was considered ideal. Slower or faster speakers weren’t as effective at getting people to listen to their pitch.
When you have a fluency disorder it means that you have trouble speaking in a fluid, or flowing, way. You may say the whole word or parts of the word more than once, or pause awkwardly between words. This is known as stuttering. You may speak fast and jam words together, or say “uh” often.
Concision makes your speech easier to deliver, and makes it easier for the audience to understand your message. With less to say, you have the luxury of speaking slowly. You will appear confident, organized, and clear-headed. Your words will have much more impact.
The problem with speaking at a pace that’s either too fast or too slow is that it interferes with communication. When you speak too slowly, your listener has too much time for processing, and the mind either locks on how irritatingly slowly you’re speaking or wanders off to more interesting things.
Speed Talking Tips
How to calculate your speaking rate. Speaking rate is often expressed in words per minute (wpm). To calculate this value, you’ll need to record yourself talking for a few minutes and then add up the number of words in your speech. Divide the total number of words by the number of minutes your speech took.