The fear of public speaking is allegedly more pervasive than the fear of death. Death, at least, does not involve feelings of shame and embarrassment for the primary party, although I can’t speak from experience.
In an effort to make public speaking slightly less terrifying, Austin-based mobile app developer Rocksauce Studios has launched TickTalk, which serves as a metronome to help speakers maintain a steady speech rhythm.
Speakers can select click and vibrate, or vibrate silently, and let their phones help moderate their word flow. The app has six different settings that function at varying beats-per-minute. The settings are categorized by “personalities” to suit a range of needs. The options are Southerner (30 BPM), Storyteller (40 BPM), Salesman (60 BPM), Politician (80 BPM), News Reel (100 BPM), and Auctioneer (120 BPM).
Someone who tends to talk too fast can use the app to moderate the flow of their words, whereas a person trying to cram an entire presentation into under 2 minutes may opt for the fastest speed.
“I have always been a fast talker,” said CEO Q Manning. “I was listening to a local radio interview I did and I realized I would be surprised if anyone could understand what I was saying. I thought it would be helpful to have an app to remind me to slow down.”
Manning first tried a musician’s metronome, but found it didn’t suit his needs. He emailed his developer and quickly, the app was built. It will be available for free in the iTunes App Store until October 1st, and then will cost $1.99 to download.
This app, while simple, has multiple use cases. An actor could use it to prepare for a film role, or an entrepreneur could use it to prepare to pitch their company to a large crowd. As someone who has sat in the audience at multiple conferences, demo days, and events, I have witnessed first hand the challenge of saying everything within a limited period of time, but not speaking incomprehensibly fast. Using the TickTalk to practice and to present can help regulate speed, as well as lower anxiety.
“It doesn’t work to combat the fear, but TickTalk helps to alleviate one of the symptoms of that fear,” Manning said. “Being afraid can make you start to speak too quickly, because you are frightened out of your mind. Having that constant reassuring buzz in your pocket brings you back down to earth. It’s a little buddy that helps you as much as you want to be helped.”
Now, the only thing public speakers have to fear is fear itself. And pit stains.