The Ultimate Guide to Social Self-Mastery

10 Social Habits Destined to UP Your Interpersonal Game

Habit 7: Speaking slower.

Today’s successful habit is to speak slower. This is a complementary habit to the Day Four lesson of walking faster.

There are some of us who are fast talkers. Words spill out of our mouths like verbal waterfalls. There are also some of us who are naturally more inclined to speak slower. The remainder of us are somewhere in-between.

Unless you are a stockbroker on Wall Street, an auctioneer, or an individual whose work requires you to speak quickly, it is important that you consciously consider choosing to slow your speech. If your job requires fast speaking, once you have gone home you could still make it your conscious intention to speak slower. Here’s why:

Speaking quickly serves some functions, including indication of nervousness and an enhanced display of need for clear communication. These two examples are not necessarily positive, nor are they always negative. Let’s take a look:

In life, it is important for others to see your humanity; people want to see themselves in you. It is impossible and ultimately miserable for you to attempt complete emotional composure under all circumstances. For instance, if you are giving a speech for your daughter’s wedding, having a shaky and fast voice is not necessarily a bad thing ... at first.

If we zoom out for a moment, we will notice that most of these daily habits revolve around intentionality and choosing your behaviors. Letting emotions guide your life circumstances is so hit-or-miss that I would classify it as a miss entirely. There are other decision-making strategies, and relying too much on any one has the potential to hinder your life success and performance. Guiding your emotional level back to one that is comfortable is a fundamental skill, coupled with speech that is intentionally paced, that aides in achieving the fullest extent of your excellence.

People who speak slower, who take timed breaths from lower in their body structures, are perceived far more confidently than people who speak from higher up in their bodies, such as their noses and shoulders. With slower speech, you engage people in your words. You enable people to listen better. You give yourself the time you need to think and formulate the audience’s anticipation. If you do so correctly, people will be hanging on to your every word. They will want you for everything that you are.

For most people, there is a limit to just what is too slow. Meaning, if I spoke…….one……….word……..per……………………………………………….minute, there would be nobody left after my first sentence. This is an exaggeration, but the point remains that you must consider speaking slowly enough successfully to project the air of confidence and assertiveness you seek. If you do not seek of these things for yourself, you may have no need to read further.

If you do seek these for yourself, you must also remember to speak fast enough that people are not stricken by sudden bouts of narcolepsy.


Homework Preceding Day Eight

For consideration: How has your spoken cadence benefited you in a past situation? How has your pacing worked in your favor? How has it not? When has it not?


Today, make it a mission to leave more air―space, breaths, silence―between your words. Give people an easy excuse to listen. Take the opportunity to show them your interpersonal prowess.