Story Speed: Talk Slow to Tell Fast

I talk fast, and when I have a time limit and a big story I talk even faster. 

I talk fast because I just do, and in my excitement at telling a story, I race from one image to the next; I also talk fast because I am terrified I will lose the audience, lose their interest if the story is not cracking along.  (And if the truth be told I do struggle to be attentive if a story is too slow - for me).

But what I learned from telling folk tales, stories that have been honed over generations, in an environment that was deeply appreciative - an audience of other storytellers, and where there were no time limits, was the art of slow and the beauty of the pause.

Silence is golden in stories; pauses and slowly drawing the story out allows time for it to be absorbed and comprehended, it allows the images to be developed more richly and for thoughts like ’I wonder what's coming next?’ to be pondered. 

Space allows tension to be highlighted and contrasted with other parts of the story.  There is definitely a place for fast, but a story that is all fast is like eating a fast food meal, (a descriptor for not only how long it takes to prepare the food, but how long it takes to consume it), rather than a three course meal.  

And some people get this from the get go, but not me, my challenge is always to shorten my stories so I can tell them longer.  

I'd love to hear you thoughts on story speed, both as a teller and a listener...