Is there a term for the variation in how many words per minute is spoken on average by people in various regions of the country/world? A focus group mentioned they wished our Tech Support personnel spoke slower.

For example, let us say someone from California speaks substantially more words-per-minute than someone from Georgia. I want to use this word, if there is one, as part of training manual for over-the-phone Tech Support personal. I want the tech support personnel to pay attention to, and slow their speech down if necessary to match the words-per-minute rate of the customer.

Where I come from, calling people "fast-talkers" is a stereotype of a con man or unscrupulous salesman. I am hoping there is a clinical word/term that can avoid any negative connotation of those who speak faster than others.

1 Answer 1


The term commonly used in linguistics appears to be tempo. According to the book Innovative Presentations for Dummies, other terms are rate of speech, speed, pace and rhythm.

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