In my Analysis class today, I was asked to speak a little more slowly than I normally do.
To my surprise, consciously slowing down my speaking made the entire experience an order of magnitude better. My brain had spare cycles to actually consider what I was saying and how I was saying it. I never spoke so fast as to get ahead of my own thoughts (which then ends in a characteristic uncomfortable pause). My speaking was clear, and the students were all paying close attention. I think it made me easier to understand. It was also a lot easier on my vocal chords. And it made it easier for students to ask questions or add to the discussion because there were more pauses. I was afraid that speaking too slowly would make me sound stupid, but really it just made me sound confident.
I'll probably continue to speak slower in every class from now on, not just this one.
What really surprised me was that I never really thought before about how fast I speak. When I get excited about a topic (which is pretty much always, if I'm talking about game development) I talk faster; this is true of most people I know. And when I'm talking with other developers, we can get away with this because we're already familiar with all the basic concepts and we've done this for so long, that our minds work as fast as our mouths. With students who are just getting past the concept of "oh, you mean I can't just come up with an idea for a game and sell it?"... well, maybe not so much.
So, I may have accidentally stumbled onto a little secret that makes it easier to teach. I bet this also works well for presentations. I also bet it's something that's obvious to anyone who's been doing this for any length of time.
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People tend not to realize how fast they talk and how much this can effect your attempt at communication.
For all I've been taught this, through all my training in speech and theater classes, it's still hard for me to keep in mind every time I have to speak publicly.
Now, having just written this, you've made me wonder if the presentation I gave just today was too fast... heh.
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