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How to speak slower?

Anonymous A

Hello,

After my 1st round interviews all the companies told me that for the 2nd round I should speak a bit slower. Some added that I would then sound less nervous, some that I would sound more structured. I see this is an important point I need to work on as I indeed do speak quite fast - would you have any tips how to work on this? I need to add that my 2nd round interviews start already in a week.

Thank you!

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Sidi replied on 03/16/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 45+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

the below hints should help you adressing this issue:

1. Pronounce each word more clearly. Oftentimes people who speak too quickly tend to blur words together in a way that can be difficult to understand. Spend some time practicing how you enunciate words, especially when you string them together in a sentence. Don’t skip over any words, not even the small ones. Enunciate each syllable of every word. This will naturally slow down your pace of speaking.

2. Use your breathing as a natural helping mechanism. This is an exercise used by actors to improve their vocal presence. Before each sentence, take a full bellyful of air and then pour all the air into that one phrase. Relax. Then, take another full breath and speak the next phrase. Practice this technique first by whispering. Then repeat it in a conversational way, but again, pour all the air into each phrase and honor the silence between phrases.

3. Plan pauses into your sentences. Try to consciously pause within sentences, or to be more precise, between distinct messages you convey. This adds a lot of gravitas to your communication. Try and adhere to mental cues, like three beats in between two statements (you can discretely use your toes inside your shoes to keep track).

Hope this is helpful!

Cheers, Sidi

(edited)

Francesco replied on 03/16/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1400+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

I believe Sidi provided some great tips for actively working on slowing down how you speak. If you want instead to passively learn how to speak slowly, you can consider the following:

  1. Find a podcast on a topic interesting for you with a great speaker. Sales podcast usually are the best for this, however it’s important that the topic is interesting for you, otherwise you will stop to listen to it after few days
  2. Listen to the podcast 30 minutes per day. Ideally when you would have time you could not use otherwise: commute, gym, etc. It’s important you do this with headphones to optimize your listening activity.
  3. After some days you will start to absorb the way the speaker uses to talk. At this point, you can continue listening until you reach a level sufficient for your need.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Vlad replied on 03/16/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

The recommendation is simple - always use the structures:

  1. Never stop using the structures. Make an initial structure and then dig deeper using the new structures
  2. Present the structure (literally, rotate your paper and show your structure)
  3. Use the structures for math / marketsizing / creativity questions
  4. Use the structure while communicating (i.e. top-down approach). Also, use the STAR approach
  5. Use the high-level structure while brainstorming
  6. Use the structures while making a synthesis (Objective - recommendation - 3-4 arguments with the numbers - additional part)

For the case structures, I strongly recommend you putting the structures on paper while talking. It will slow down your speech and you'll never get a feedback that you are not structured enough

Best!