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Are You A Fast Talker? Slow Down -
Honor The Words, Make Fewer Mistakes
February 11, 2016

I talk fast. I always have. I guess it’s because I assume whomever I’m talking to will get bored so I gotta get everything in before they wander off.

Unfortunately, that habit has carried over to my voice over career. I have to make a conscious effort to slow down almost every time I step up to the mic.

I mention this because recently at a recording session one of my fellow talents needed to leave as soon as possible to get to another engagement.

There was a rotating cast of talent there that day, and we were happy to accommodate. She was allowed to record her scripts first, and I was in some of them.

Since she was in a hurry, she was rushing. I have worked with her a number of times and noticed she made a lot more mistakes than she usually does. A lot more.

She stumbled through it and got the hell out of there. I could tell she was a bit frustrated and maybe even embarrassed.


We’ve all been there before, so it was no big deal.

Yet it reminded me of when I narrated my first audiobook. I sucked. I sucked not just because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I sucked because I was talking so damn fast.

Since this was my first audiobook and it was for a major publisher, I wanted to make a good impression by being efficient. We had 500 pages to get through in five days and I was terrified to not get it in on time.

I made a bunch of mistakes, which made me go even faster since I thought I was wasting time by making mistakes. A vicious cycle, indeed.

As a result of talking at a breakneck pace, we did it in four days and I was all impressed with myself - but I didn’t do a good job. Needless to say, they never brought me in to narrate another audiobook. I don’t blame them.  


Fast does not equal good. I have learned that if I take my time, I make fewer mistakes.

By slowing down I’m honoring the words, the characters, and the story. I’m acting better and I’m listening better.

If you find yourself speeding up or you’re in a hurry to get to the next whatever; breathe, smile, and relax. You’ll screw up less, do a better job, and finish just as quickly.
Over nearly two decades, Tom Dheere has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries and voiced more than 40 audiobooks. He is also a voice over business consultant, coach at Edge Studio, was the marketing consultant for the Voice Over Virtual online conference, and is writer/producer of the new sci-fi action comic book Agent 1.22.

Agent 1.22

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Comments (2)
Larry Wayne
2/13/2016 at 1:30 PM
I find myself reading at a faster pace when I know I am getting closer to the end of a chapter! A comparison of playback of the first part of the chapter, and then end end of the chapter shows this!I put a 3x5 card up on my monitor that says S-L-O-W! That helps. I think it's partly because I want to "get 'er done," and partly the old radio guy in me that wants to dispose of the remaining words in under :30!
Jerry D. Harris
2/12/2016 at 8:28 PM
A trick I picked up from a voice and diction class that has helped me slow down a lot is to over-exaggerate my mouth movements when speaking. Not to over-enunciate the words, but by taking the time to move my lips and tongue deliberately, rather than simply habitually, slows me down to a good pace.
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