How fast do you speak?

In conversational English, the average rate of speech for men is 125 words per minute. Women average 150 words per minute (but let’s be fair: that’s not even one extra word every two seconds). Television newscasters frequently hit 175+ words per minute. Why do speakers need to know this? If you know your rate of speech and the length of time you are to speak, you can write to fill the time allotted. For example, if you’re given 10 minutes and you speak at a rate of 150 wpm, then you should write 1,500 words and no more. Then, assuming you do not stray widely from your “script,” you’ll hit your target time, plus or minus 30 seconds, every time.

Read all entries in The Spoken Word
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2009 | Link to entry

“I” or “me”?

Which is it: “Donna loves pizza more than I” or “Donna loves pizza more than me”? It depends on what point you are trying to make. If you’re trying to say she loves pizza more than you love pizza, then “Donna loves pizza more than I” is correct since the implied phrase is “…than I do.” But, given a choice between you and a pizza, if Donna chooses the pizza (tough break, by the way), then “Donna loves pizza more than me” is correct since the implied phrase is “…more than she loves me.”

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2009 | Link to entry

Affect or effect?

Most of the time, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. However, this is only a “most-of-the-time” guide, since affect can at times be a noun and effect can at times be a verb. But, instead of confusing the issue with exceptions that are rarely used, I’ll concentrate on the most common uses. Affect is almost always a verb meaning “to influence or change.” Use it this way: “Will this affect my performance review?” Effect is almost always a noun meaning “result.” Use it this way: “We need to address the effect of your behavior.”

Want to learn more? Consider my two writing seminars: Business Writing in Plain English and Goof-Proof Grammar.

Read all entries in The Written Word
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Link to entry

Now in Toastmaster magazine

An article that you may have already seen here on my website, originally titled The Competitive Spirit, has been published in the April, 2008, issue of Toastmaster magazine (p.7). Now titled Don’t Wake Up Too Soon, the article explains that Toastmasters’ speech contests are not about titles or trophies. Instead, they are the fastest route to the greatest improvement. This article was one of nine on my Resources page available for reprint with my compliments. After the magazine has been circulated, I will re-post it on that page. But in the meantime, watch your mailbox for the April issue. Remember, you saw it here first.

Read all entries in In The News
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Link to entry

Get paid like Bill Clinton?

In an article titled Be Like Bill Clinton--Make Big Money Giving Speeches, posted this morning on, I’m quoted twice, along with fellow professional speakers Tom Antion and NSA Vice President Philip van Hooser. Though we can’t tell you how to make $52 million as President Clinton did since 2000, we do provide insights into how you can make money as a professional speaker. 

Read all entries in In The News
Posted Tuesday, April 08, 2008 | Link to entry

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