Earlier today, I was working with an adult client who clutters and stutters (for more information on cluttering, check out this previous AIS Blog post). In order to reduce his speech rate and the rate at which he responds to others in conversation, this client was practicing pausing. In our conversational practice, his goal was to pause before responding to me and also pause between phrases. My job was to add pressure by speaking more rapidly and from time to time, interrupting him. At one point, however, I noticed that his speech rate and pausing were becoming contagious. I was having a hard time speaking rapidly, because he was doing such a great job of setting the tempo.
Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers pay a visit to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The differing playing styles of these two teams provide a clinically useful analogy for addressing speech rate. As is typical for teams coached by Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers play a fast-paced full-court offense. The Knicks, on the other hand, play a more methodical half-court offense. If the Knicks want to win tonight, they’ll need to play good defense, and force the Lakers to play a slower half-court game. In the conversation I had with my client today, I was the Lakers, and he was the Knicks. Guess who won the game?