I keep thinking of the old, old joke about someone writing a letter: I'm writing this slowly because I know you can't read very fast.
How about the same consideration for listening? I'm speaking slowly because I know you can't listen any faster. That would work for me, as both a speaker and a listener.
So much has to be crammed into every advertisement -- legal warnings; medical warnings; warnings about finding warnings, perhaps -- that the real message can get lost. The more I hear that kind of message, the more I suspect that the speaker may want to obscure the message.
The more speakers I hear, on radio, in church and on the street, the more I think it's contagious. We're speaking too quickly in general.
I have done plenty of public speaking, from being a tour guide to being a lay liturgist (scripture reader) at church.
I've also had some trouble with my jaw over the years, from dental work to jaw pain. There's nothing quite like a sore jaw to make me think that I need to speak clearly so that I don't get asked to repeat myself. I should remember that more often.
I don't just want to be heard -- I want to be understood. And there's a limit to how much people can understand. It's a speed limit.
I break the speed limit sometimes, at least when it comes to speech. That's usually an indication of too much emotion getting involved, even too much eagerness to get my point across.
That's why I am editing my mental reminder, changing it gradually from a simple "Slow down!" to "Speak slowly, because they can't listen any faster."
When I need to get my point across most, I should speak the slowest. But what makes me laugh about that is that while I picture myself riding a brake during a speech or a reading, I don't get told to pick up the pace. But when I lose that mental picture of the brake, I can hit the gas pedal and soundlikethisalloneword. (For those who missed that, I'll type it in the standard way -- sound like this all one word.)
When people can apprehend what I'm saying -- when they can "catch" it -- they can understand, and I have them in the palm of my hand. They'll wait for the next word.
It's like notes vs. rests in music. Think of any piece you like, from "The Magic Flute" to the "Nutcracker" suite or (sigh) "We Are the Champions."
Too many notes (as the emperor tells Mozart in the movie "Amadeus") are too hard to understand. But the same number of notes will work well if you play them slowly and take your rests between them.
Listen to the voices you enjoy and listen to their pace. Then match it. Take your time, make your point, and your listeners will be there.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.