(2) Presentation rehearsal. If you are a beginning instructor, tape record a
presentation to check for rate of speech. Between 120 and 150 words per minute is a
normal speaking rate. If you speak over 160 words per minute, students may have
difficulty keeping up with you. If you speak under 90 words per minute, you normally
will cause student to lose interest. Over-rapid delivery tends to confuse students and
over-deliberate delivery tends to irritate them.
Be sure you are understood. Successful instruction depends on how well the
students understand their instructors. Consider the following points when planning your
a. Words. Develop a healthy regard for words. Choose words carefully and
develop sentences clearly and logically. The right word in the right place is a
requirement for both effective speech and writing. Verbal communication depends on
using words that have the exact meaning to make the thought clear.
(1) Student education level. Consider the educational level of the group you
are teaching. Use terms that are common to the vocabularies of your students. Do not
try to impress students by using unfamiliar words. An instructor's purpose is to clarify,
not to confuse. If complex terms are essential, use them, but define each new term the
first time it is used.
(2) Instructor word choice. Use strong, meaningful, descriptive verbs that
leave vivid impressions. Add interest and color to your presentation by using a variety
of descriptive terms. Use a variety of connective words. "And" is not the only
connective word in our language.
b. Sentences. Words selected must be properly grouped to express ideas
clearly and accurately. Use short sentences. Signal the end of your sentences by voice
inflection. Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases. Do not pad sentences and
c. Pauses. Pauses punctuate speech. The proper use of pauses accomplishes
several things. Students get time to absorb your ideas. You get an opportunity to
concentrate on your next point. You give emphasis and meaning to your ideas. You
also get a chance to breathe. Pauses should be clear and decisive. The use of "er-r-r,"
"ah" or "uh-h" in the pause is a mental crutch that you should not use. Don't confuse a
deliberate pause with uncertain hesitation. Pauses are a definite part of the art of
speaking. Uncertain hesitation shows that your lecture is not well prepared.