It can be confusing to calculate on your own when you need to know how many words you need for a speech. According to a four-minute speech, the word count depends on more than one variable. However, what it mostly comes down to is average reading speed. If you know your average reading speed and speech patterns, you can usually determine speech length down to a roughly accurate number of words needed for however many minutes of speech you need.
This article will tell you how many words is a 4 minute speech and how to calculate the word count for it and other speech lengths. Giving a speech can be a nervous endeavor on its own. Figuring out how many words you need to write to get to the required time for a speech or a time limit only makes things more stressful. We will cover how to do it without breaking a sweat.
What is Average Reading Speed?
The average reading speed is exactly as it sounds, it refers to how many words a person can typically read (on average) per minute. To calculate this, you can take tests online where you will be given a reading sample. You start the timer as you begin to read the passage, and when you finish, you stop the timer.
This will then give you a word count per minute type calculation to help you get the answer to “How many words do I need to get through an entire speech four minutes long?‘
A person’s speaking speed is not the same as their reading speed. The average person speaks fewer words than they can read in one minute. The average person speaks 125-150 words per minute.
Knowing this number can help you get another step closer to understanding how many words are within a 4 minute speech or a speech of any length that you need to deliver. Once you know your average speaking speed, you can start counting words for your actual speech.
How to Determine the Number of Words You Speak per Minute
To figure out your average speaking rate per minute, you can use one of the many different resources available online. Several sites are free that you can use. You need to plug in the number of words you have and enter in or click a box that lets the program know if you are a slow, average, or fast reader. (This is where it is handy to calculate your reading speed, as discussed previously).
Once these numbers are entered, the program does the work and the math involved and gives you a lot of words. You can then check its accuracy by checking your speaking rate yourself with a timer.
Practice Your Speech
Practicing giving your speech multiple times may sound like overkill, but it can be incredibly beneficial. Through practice, you can learn to identify your speech patterns. Do you tend to speed up as you near the end of a point, or do you tend to slow down drastically when you get to a major point in your speech?
These nuances and habits are called speech patterns. You can probably recognize the patterns of speech of famous actors or politicians. For example, Barack Obama is well known for his distinct speaking. Most people can simply hear his voice, mid-speech, and know who is talking. Donald Trump is another known politician/celebrity with a distinct speaking pattern.
Prepare More Words than You’ll Need
Your speaking rate is likely to change when you deliver the speech. The tests you take before your speech, like a minutes calculator for speech length, will only give you a basic estimate. Even though you may be nervous when you practice it, calculations provided by a minutes calculator could spell your doom when it comes to your actual speech delivery.
When we are nervous, our speaking rate usually increases. Most of us speak fast when we feel nervous or are put on the spot. So what took you four minutes to read when testing your speed may only take you three and a half minutes of speaking time when you deliver your speech. People speak slower when relaxed or when they are just practicing a speech rather than when they are delivering it.
It is best to write more than what you think you will need if you run short on the allotted time you are supposed to take. Reading time fluctuates, and the content of your speech should reflect that. Have a few anecdotes or minor details that you can easily toss if you need to. They can act as a safety net if you start to run short on words and long on time.
What Are the Numbers?
If you need to know the speaking time when it comes to a word count, remember that the best way to calculate it is to time yourself repeatedly and then average the numbers. If you simply want to know or are curious about how long it will take you for your next presentation in terms of words per minute, then the raw data can give a rough estimate.
The following are some speech lengths, followed by the average amount of words needed to attain at a given or mandated time. This does not account for someone who tends to speak quickly and is based on short sentences in the text to determine speaking time.
The information below is based on a flat 125 word per minute reading speed. Also included are some tips for any speaker.
How Many Words Is a 2 Minute Speech?
The word count associated with the average two-minute speech is 250 words. A two-minute speech is a short speech that should maintain a somewhat slow and steady speaking pace. It is easy to rush through a speech of this duration because speeches this short often make the deliverer feel rushed. Try to keep a steady speaking pace when giving all speeches, especially the short ones.
How Many Words Is a 3 Minute Speech?
The word count associated with the average three-minute speech is 375 words. When it comes to three-minute speeches, you still have a limited time to give the information, but the audience gets more time to listen to the content. Be sure to speak in a loud and clear voice when delivering a speech at this length. Rather than focusing on how many minutes you have been talking, focus on getting the message across to the audience.
How Many Words Is a 4 Minute Speech?
Here is the answer you came for. Would it be fair to take the number above for a two-minute speech (250) and simply double it when giving a four-minute speech? You may be expecting a wrench to get thrown into the works now because it would be too convenient for that method to work. But it does and it is really that simple. Because we are using the same reading rate across the board, all you have to do to determine the word count of a four-minute speech is double the words needed to deliver a two-minute speech. Therefore, the word count associated with a four-minute speech is 500 words.
How Many Words Is a 5 Minute Speech?
Five minutes is a long time to talk without interruption. You probably do not realize it, but any social conversation rarely involves one person speaking for five minutes straight. There is usually a back and forth. There is typically a response long before you hit the five-minute mark.
Remember that as you talk, as time goes on, keep up the same volume and optimism in your voice as you started with. It is easy to get tired of listening to your voice as you get closer to five minutes. Keep your voice strong, and stay engaged. This will keep your audience interested. The word count associated with a five-minute speech is 625 words.
How Many Words Is a 10 Minute Speech?
If all we had to do to figure out the word count for a two-minute speech and then double it to get the word count for a four-minute speech, would the same trick work here? Can we multiply the word count of a two-minute speech by five? Can we double the word count of a five-minute speech?
Yes, you can. If a five-minute speech is 625 words, we can estimate the words needed for a ten-minute speech by doubling the words needed for a five-minute speech and arrive at the number: 1250.
Preparation Tips to Nail Your Speech Presentation
Speaking is just talking, right? If only it were that simple. There are many things to prepare when delivering a presentation, like a speech. Often, especially with longer speeches, you are required or encouraged to provide visual aids for your audience to illustrate further your points—all of this in front of people. And, to top it off, you have to time things out so that the words per minute average out to what you need them to be.
Here are some helpful tips for anyone who is tasked to give a speech so you can nail that presentation.
- Write your speech and save it to Google Docs. You can share it to a mobile device, print it, run a word counter, and manipulate the content, paragraphs, pages, etc. Gone are the days when we needed note cards or hand-written pages of notes for a speech. Use the technology available to you to ease the burden to focus solely on your delivery when the time comes.
- Do not stray too far from your main idea or theme. It is easy to get off-topic, especially with long speeches. Anecdotes and jokes are great, but they should all circle back to your main point.
- Practice and prepare in front of a mirror or peers, or both. Seeing yourself as you speak in a mirror can help you remember to look up. You should never look down at the speech itself the entire time you speak. Practicing in front of a friend or family member can give them a chance to offer you valuable feedback. Be sure that others understand the language you use. Be sure that you speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard and understood.
- Focus on the foreheads. Do not attempt to make eye contact with the people listening to you. It can make you more nervous, especially if the thought of public speaking makes you uncomfortable, to begin with. One handy trick is to look at their forehead, right above their eyebrows. They cannot tell you are not looking at them, and it gives you the chance to look up from your notes without making you completely uncomfortable.
- Relax. A timed speech may seem like a long and terrible endeavor, but remember that it is only a few minutes of your life. Make the best of it, do your best, and then you can put it behind you. If possible, even try to enjoy yourself. After all, any chance to inform others of something is a great chance to have.