E054 – Speaking too quickly

communication self-regulation tapping Sep 14, 2023


Doyoufindyourselfspeakingtoofastsometimes? Likegettingallthewordsoutreallyquicklyandjustneedingtogetthemalloutatonce?

Ok… let's just slow down for a second. Do you find yourself speaking too quickly sometimes, the words just tumbling out in a rush? You're not necessarily as coherent as you'd like, and maybe you have a bit of a feeling of overwhelm or embarrassment, or even remorse afterwards, like "Oh, I did it again. Why did I speak so fast?"

If you sometimes speak too fast in a group or one-on-one situation, this post is for you. Watch the video or read on below to learn how you can become calm and grounded when you talk.

Speaking too fast can be embarrassing , and it can even be career-limiting. It’s generally rooted in an anxiety pattern that drives our communication, causing a whole lot of stuff to come out really quickly.

I've worked with a lot of people who speak too fast, and we’ve worked on this pattern together. It's a deep nervous system pattern and a particular kind of conditioning. The pattern is embedded, but it can sabotage our ability to communicate in business and personal relationships.

Speeding through our words suggests we lack confidence, grounding, or gravitas. So we may be taken less seriously, and we'll definitely feel less heard when we speed like this. This can lead us to feel that how we express ourselves is not good enough. And this launches a pattern of shutting down and self-shaming and feeling regret... Which increases our anxiety, so that the next time we speak, we end up speaking really quickly once again.

But you don't have to be stuck in this pattern. It's work-on-able. I'm going to give you some tips to deal with speaking too fast or motor-mouthing, and how to slow down, get grounded, and express what you want to express clearly, confidently, and calmly in a body that feels settled.

Step number one is to recognize what's happening in your body and nervous system. Basically what's going on here is that your sympathetic nervous system has gone into fight or flight: there's adrenaline in the body, the heart rate is up. We may have a bit of sweating or blushing going on—more sympathetic nervous system indicators. And all that glucose is moving into our muscles so we can run away or fight… Which is not a great place to be speaking from! That's causing us to speed up, and it's causing our vocal cords to tighten and contract. It's not ideal to communicate from within our sympathetic nervous system, so we need to regulate ourselves down into a state of calm.

We want to slow down from our sympathetic nervous system into what's called our ventral vagal state, which is a natural mammal state from which we can easily connect with each other. Here we feel regulated, settled, comfy, grounded, even heart-centered, and able to speak at our own pace. This is the gold standard to set for oneself when communicating with others—we want to be in our ventral vagal.

How do you know if you're there? You will feel settled, calm, comfortable, and grounded. Down-regulating your nervous system out of that anxiety response is your first responsibility, by using breathing or alternate leg tapping, for example. Watch or read about some of these tools You'll find some of them linked at the very end of this video, resources for you to follow.

The second step is to decondition the pattern, which has presumably been around for a long time. It usually starts in childhood in our family of origin and may be accelerated at school. I don't know your personal story, of course, but that's often how the hardwiring works.

So we begin to decondition the pattern with EFT tapping and other tools to recognize the pattern, work on it, and become really conscious of it. Instead of letting it take over so that we feel bad and remorseful afterwards, on repeat, forever, we decondition the pattern to develop consciousness around it and reduce the shame and self-judgment we have about it. We tend to reject the parts of ourselves that we like least, so we want to get back in there and embrace this part of ourselves.

Step number three is to work on the shame hangover. The shame hangover is—“It happened, I spoke too fast”—and then you judge yourself, replay the moment or conversation, the bad feelings, remorse, regret, and nasty self-talk.

There's no need to feel terrible afterwards, but we have a pattern of doing that. So we decondition that response to make it neutral, because the shame hangover is part of what perpetuates the whole cycle. As soon as you feel any tinglings of shame or remorse, it's time to dismantle those feelings so that you no longer care that you spoke too fast—because that will decrease the anxiety the next time it happens.

Step number four is to look at the whole timeline—meaning before, during, and after an event. If you really want to show up as your best self at a speaking event or a meeting, give yourself time to arrive there in a calm state, and regulate any anxiety you feel as it arises. Don't arrive at the meeting on level 9,000, in fight or flight, because you will speak quickly. You will not speak coherently.

You may already have ramping anxiety before the meeting, so you want to dismantle that curve so instead it's like—whew, slow down. Again, I use EFT and a number of other tools to achieve this. But work on that ramp beforehand so you don't arrive in a state of anxiety.

The second part of the timeline, the “during” part, is to regulate and breathe. In the middle of the event, while you're speaking, get grounded, get settled, get comfy. Come home into your body and settle in.

Step three of the timeline is to dismantle the shame hangover afterwards. Don't let it stick around.

If you speak too fast or have other issues with how you express yourself, you can heal it, you can change it. People do it all the time. If you’re struggling to believe that you can change, read the testimonials on this site. You'll see that people are changing, they’re healing and developing a sense of confidence and grounded calm when they express themselves.

In the work I do, I like to say that anyone can heal a shutdown voice or the pattern of speaking too quickly and the shame, remorse, and lack of confidence that can go with it. All of those patterns can be turned around into new patterns so that you speak with confidence, clarity, a sense of groundedness, and a sense of being able to express yourself with authority, clarity, and trustworthiness.

The core of this is that it is our birthright to feel calm, settled, and confident in our own skin. And that's the point of this work—to get back into the body and feel good inside so that we can share ourselves in a way that feels safe and fun—playful and powerful at the same time.