How many words is a 3-4 minute speech?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by marketsons1985, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. marketsons1985

    marketsons1985 Platinum Member

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    Looking at trying out to give a speech at our College of Education convocation, but...I have no idea how many words I should be looking at for a 3-4 minute speech.

    That doesn't seem very long, does it?

    Any help?
     
  2. Ns1

    Ns1 No Lifer

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    Depends how fast you talk ;)
     
  3. JohnCU

    JohnCU Banned

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    it depends on how fast you talk...and...other things...

    DAMNIT ns1 too fast :(
     
  4. tfinch2

    tfinch2 Lifer

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    I think it would take 3-4 minutes to recite 1 page of 12-point font Times New Roman verbatim.
     
  5. Nitemare

    Nitemare Lifer

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    Pause after every sentence and wait for applause imho
     
  6. ViperVin2

    ViperVin2 Senior member

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    This sounds about right.
     
  7. randay

    randay Lifer

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    oh..... well......... i guess........ five.
     
  8. marketsons1985

    marketsons1985 Platinum Member

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    Lol, gee thanks ;)

    I guess I'll just have to practice. :p
     
  9. NikolaeVarius

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    Lies. That takes me about a minute
     
  10. PHiuR

    PHiuR Diamond Member

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    2 pages double space.
     
  11. Ns1

    Ns1 No Lifer

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    Yup. I did alot of speeches in school. Practice in front of a mirror. Go for 4:30 at least when you practice. When you do the speech forreal, if you're not a good public speaker, you'll talk faster and your speech will end up shorter.
     
  12. IronWing

    IronWing Lifer

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    With or without the ums, ahs, you knows, actuallys, in facts, and likes?

    Al Gore: 30 words
    Joe Pesci: 1800 words
     
  13. marketsons1985

    marketsons1985 Platinum Member

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    I've done lots of public speaking, just never timed. It's always been me either giving speeches to my marching band ( I was drum major) or to my residents (I was an RA) or to my students (as a teacher).

    I don't think it's the end of the world if I'm too long, I hope.


    College of Education: We're sorry. We can't recommend you for Teaching Certification because you went over your allotted time.

    It'd be better if they had music to play to usher me off stage.
     
  14. dpert1

    dpert1 Senior member

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    when i took public speaking, 3-4 mins was about 2-2.5 ms word pages, double spaced, 12pt times new verbatim
     
  15. clamum

    clamum Lifer

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    Take an average sentence (average words/lengths of words) and read it for 10 seconds at your normal reading rate. Multiple number of words read by 18 for 3 minutes or 20 for 4 minutes for total number of words.
     
  16. SmoochyTX

    SmoochyTX Lifer

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    :laugh:
     
  17. OdiN

    OdiN Banned

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    Generally about 3-4 minutes worth of words.
     
  18. paulney

    paulney Diamond Member

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    About 180 words per minute for a public speaker I believe.
     
  19. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    How I did it for my speech class:

    I disobeyed the teacher's orders: "Do not ever write out your speech, or it won't sound natural when delivered."
    I'd write it out, and read it at a calm speaking pace, as though I were delivering it to an audience. Then I'd use Word's word-count function; # words / minutes = WPM. That'll give you an idea of your speaking speed. Multiply by 3-4, and you've got the number of words to have in your speech. Maybe subtract 5-10% from your WPM before calculating. I found that I talked a bit slower when delivering to an audience than when rehearsing.

    FYI, despite going against the "do not write" order, I got an A in the class. She apparently never noticed. :) My writing also seems to be decent. I just about got a plagiarism accusation for not citing Carl Sagan for a large paragraph of text - we all had to turn in a writeup of our conclusions, to be recited during the speech, verbatim. She said that I didn't add in the quotes properly, that I didn't give Sagan credit. Well guess what, there was a reason for that: he didn't write it, I did. :D

    Speaking speeds vary considerably, even just for one person. My usual speaking speed is 180-200WPM, but for delivering speeches, it consistently clocked in at a sluggish 138WPM, which often meant I had to significantly pare down what I'd originally intended to say.


    That's a bit too quick. That's more like normal speaking speed. You want to talk slower for public speeches. From The Art of Public Speaking, by Stephen Lucas:
    - Average speaking speed in the US is 125-150WPM
    - Daniel Webster spoke at about 90WPM, Franklin Roosevelt - 110WPM, John Kennedy - 180WPM.
    "Martin Luther King opened his 'I Have a Dream' speech at a pace of 92 words per minute and finished it at 145."

    It also will depend on your material. My speeches tended to deal with science-y subjects, delivered to a non-technical crowd, so I slowed down the pace a good bit. If your audience already knows the material well, you can speed things up, but if they don't know the difference between, say, Mars Observer and Mars Pathfinder, then you've got to take it easy, or you'll lose everyone in short order.
     
  20. Fingolfin269

    Fingolfin269 Lifer

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    Depends. I could go on for 5 minutes about one specific slide. :p
     
  21. Kadarin

    Kadarin Lifer

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    3-4 minutes doesn't sound like very long, until you're actually up at the podium. It's also a natural tendency for a lot of people to get nervous and speak too quickly.

    You should also know your speech, as opposed to merely memorizing it.
     
  22. Quasmo

    Quasmo Diamond Member

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    Bingo
     
  23. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    Definitely. Rehearse it several times at home. Do it the first few times with the written speech in front of you. Then move to notecards. Finally, try it without any speaking aids. 3-4 minutes is nothing. :)
     
  24. Xonoahbin

    Xonoahbin Senior member

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    I'd say 500-650. I do speech and debate and I'm impeccable with time. My three minute speeches run a little under 500 (475-500) and my four minute speeches go from about 650-680.
     
  25. MagnusTheBrewer

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    Does NO ONE think it odd that someone giving a speech at a College of Education convocation is so unsure of presentation timing that they post in ATOT? What did you learn in school again?