Some people are fast talkers. They like to talk with the same speed as they think. In the process fast talking people end up mumbling a lot, shortening sentences, rounding off parts and skipping words. Their diction is poor and therefore they are difficult to understand. The problem is that fast talkers usually have a lot to say, which is why they are in a hurry to express themselves and more often than not what they want to share is actually useful. However, if no one understands what they have to say or if they mix it up with all sorts of irrelevant data or going off- tangent too often, then listeners get bored quickly or misunderstand them.
This exercise helps such individuals to practice slowing down their rate of speech and improve their diction. The exercise also helps to practice listening skills as delegates have to pay full attention to what has been said.
Talk at an ideal speed to allow your partner to express what you are saying using body language gestures.
- Divide the delegates to pairs. If you have an odd number of delegates, use a group of three.
- Ask each group to nominate one person as the talker and the other person as the imitator.
- Talkers should choose a subject and tell a story about it. It could be on a recent experience at work, about something that went wrong while engaged in a sport or hobby or even a holiday report.
- While talkers tell their stories, the imitators should act out what the talkers are saying silently using gestures.
- This technique helps two critical areas:
- It forces the talkers to talk slower so that the imitators have enough time to parse, understand and express what has been said using gestures.
- It forces the imitators to listen carefully to understand what has been said so they can act it out accordingly.
- Allocate about 10 minutes for this part.
- Swap roles and repeat the exercise for another 10 minutes.
- Bring back everyone together and follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes
Activity: 2 rounds * 10 min = 20 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
What did you think of your talking speed? Did it slow down? Was it obvious that the other person has understood more as a result of slowing down? Can you talk at this speed next time without the imitator being present?