The Racing Mind: The Difficulties of Being a Fast Talker

Some people communicate in the same way as they live, extremely quickly. However, behind this style of speaking is often anxiety, lack of control, or clarity of thought.
The Racing Mind: The Difficulties of Being a Fast Talker
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 30 September, 2022

Each of us has a particular way of communicating. However, if you’re a fast talker, you probably don’t always manage to transmit your messages effectively. Furthermore, you tend to generate certain feelings of stress, confusion, and greater difficulty in understanding on the part of your listeners. We’re able to make a number of assumptions concerning this kind of communication style.

In the first place, being a fast talker doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from a psychological disorder. On the other hand, it could be due to a speech disorder such as tachylalia. This disorder defines excessively fast speech, where words run into each other. In addition, there are often pauses or repetitions that further complicate the rhythmic flow of the sufferer’s speech.

Often, this type of communication is due to the presence of anxiety and stressors in close environments. In fact, it’s something that happens many times during childhood. Therefore, if you know someone who regularly uses this type of speech, you should always be a little patient with them.

On the other hand, if you’re the one who communicates in this way, it’s worth taking into account a series of data and strategies. They’re as follows.

“One cannot not communicate.”

-Paul Watzlawick-

Faces connected by threads representing people who speak fast

Being a fast talker

Some think that fast talkers possess some kind of ability that differentiates them from others. They believe that talking fast may mean that they also think fast. They also might think that these people would be great speakers if called upon to give speeches with large amounts of data and information. However, science has indicated that this isn’t always the case.

To begin with, speaking fast doesn’t mean that you speak fluently. Likewise, if you communicate in an accelerated manner you don’t always allow time for your audience to digest all the information that you transmit. This is what experts like Florence Myers, a speech disorders pathologist at the University of Maryland, suggest.

She claims that fast talkers, on average, tend to exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Alterations in the tone of voice. For example, sometimes, you can speak too loudly or too little, making use of a lower tone that makes understanding difficult.
  • Problems when articulating. You make mistakes when pronouncing certain words.
  • Use of fillers in speech. For example, “ah” “um” as well as self-repairs like “I mean” and “so”.
  • The most important aspects of your message, that is, the central theme you want to communicate, go unnoticed.
  • Your listener doesn’t understand all of your speech. In addition, it’s common that they place less value on it. Furthermore, they may experience some stress due to your fast communication style.

The causes of being a fast talker

The origin of exceptionally fast speech is multidimensional. In other words, there’s no single cause. As a matter of fact, there are different factors that can explain why it happens. These are as follows:

  • Conditioning from childhood. There are children who feel socially pressured from an early age to speak quickly. Having naughty siblings or even having parents who also speak fast often causes this communicative style.
  • Extroverted personalities present this characteristic on certain occasions. In fact, they tend to think while talking and their impulsivity and overlapping ideas are expressed almost without a filter.
  • The most common cause is a racing mind. Indeed, sometimes, a daily routine that’s marked by rushing, anxiety, and pressure, makes people end up communicating nervously. In fact, these people communicate as they live: in a stressful way.
Friends talking symbolizing people who speak fast

Tachylalia: a speech disorder

In some cases, accelerated speech may be due to a speech disorder known as tachylalia. This is characterized by the omission of sounds and syllables when speaking words, as well as respiratory incoordination. Therefore, the language of these people is often incomprehensible.

Tachylalia can appear at any age. However, it’s usually more common in children. The main cause of this condition is a lack of coordination between the brain and the ability to activate the organs of speech. It can also be due to neurological and hereditary factors. In these cases, there’s a lack of coordination between the connection of the nervous system with the language areas of the body.

For these cases, the most effective treatment is child speech therapy. This addresses and strengthens the child’s self-control. In addition, the infant is stimulated with breathing exercises to control the diaphragm, and relaxation exercises to help them collect their ideas.

What can be done to reduce fast speech?

We all want to communicate effectively. To speak effectively means to convey your message in an appropriate, close, and even captivating way. Thus, if you do it too quickly, others experience anxiety or difficulties in understanding what you’re saying. Also, as a result of rushing, you may end up sharing certain thoughts that you’d prefer to keep private.

Therefore, if you speak fast, you must learn to slow down. You also need to apply a somewhat more reflective and less impulsive way of thinking. In this way, you’ll feel, little by little, more competent, with greater self-control.

Keys to speaking more slowly

  • Emotional management. As we mentioned earlier, this form of communication is mediated by your emotions and, more specifically, by the anxiety derived from your lifestyle. Therefore, sometimes it’s not enough just to slow down. In fact, you also have to establish control over your anxiety, stress, and impulsivity.
  • Breathing control. Techniques, such as deep breathing or Jacobson’s progressive relaxation, can help you train your inner calm to improve the rhythm of your communication.
  • Think like a listener. When you’re communicating with someone, train your thinking to establish pauses. In those moments where you can take the opportunity to take a breath, ask yourself if what you’re saying is reaching your listener. Repeat to yourself that communicating slowly is always better.
  • Ask others to let you know if you speak fast. Because, sometimes, you do it almost without realizing it. Indeed, you speed up your speech and it becomes overwhelming for your listener. This is especially the case if you’re feeling nervous. Therefore, it’s a good idea to point out to others that you have this tendency and that you’d certainly appreciate if they could let you know when you’re doing it. Then, you’ll be able to slow down.

In conclusion, as we pointed out at the beginning, speaking fast doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from a disorder. Most of the time it’s communicative behavior that you can control by being aware of it. This is well worth bearing in mind.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bakhshani, N. M. (2014). Impulsivity: a predisposition toward risky behaviors. International journal of high risk behaviors & addiction3(2).
  • Sierra, J. C., Ortega, V., & Zubeidat, I. (2003). Ansiedad, angustia y estrés: tres conceptos a diferenciar. Revista mal-estar e subjetividade3(1), 10-59.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.