VARYING YOUR RATE
Try using variety in your rate of delivery, especially to emphasize certain strategic points. Teachers who drone on and on at the same rate and pitch induce more sleep than learning. We should have taken a hint when the guy on the back row passed out and collapsed onto the floor.
Haddon Robinson notes that "pauses are the punctuation marks of speech." (Biblical Preaching, p. 206) They give an audience time to reflect, feel your emotion, mentally respond, and transition to a new point.
A well-timed pause can underline a point as powerfully as a shout.
Practice a section of next week�s lesson at different rates. Try some brief pauses during transitions, or to give a moment of reflection on a major point. Try saying the first part of a dramatic statement at your regular rate and slowing down for the final part. Try saying your main points a little more slowly for emphasis.
Remember, a pause seldom seems as long to the audience as it does to the speaker. But too long a pause can seem artificial. And resist filling in a pause with words like "and", "uh", "you know". Youth who appear to be taking notes are actually recording the number of times you use meaningless fillers. To get rid of these words, practice out loud with a tape recorder.
By regularly recording your messages you can determine if varying between rapid, slow, and a well-timed dramatic pause or two would add interest to your presentation.
Some effective communicators speak slowly. Others speak rapidly. But both tend to use variety. Rule of thumb: "Proper rate is varied and rapid enough to show vitality and slow enough to assure distinct articulation." (Brown, Clinard, Northcutt, Steps to the Sermon)
As always, get input from others. Tell a couple of people to listen to your rate, to see if they think more variety would help. When you do change it, does it seem unnatural or bothersome to them? If so, why?