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We have a client who speaks at an incredibly fast pace. I often get lost in the middle of our conversation. Even at that pace, he speaks in coherent sentences and my colleagues don't have any issues understanding him, so the problem must be with myself.

I've already read and tried some of the things from this post, and while it has helped my overall communication skills, I still struggle a lot when talking to people who speak way too fast.

Are there any tricks to processing fast speech? Any recommended practice?

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You could ask the client to speak slower. –  Gaʀʀʏ Apr 8 at 19:25

2 Answers 2

A general purpose answer to questions of the form "How do I get better at X?" is "Do more X."

In this case, find ways to practice listening to fast speech in situations that are not quite so stressful as a work assignment.

Many mp3 players and media players have a way to accelerate playback. You could find relevant spoken word content (podcasts, for example) and play them at a faster than normal rate. If your client has a regional accent of some kind, you might look for podcasts produced by someone with a similar accent.

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I would suggest making sure you aren't thinking about anything else - no distractions, but really the only real solution is practice.

If your colleagues can fully understand him but you can't, my guess is they are either familiar with his accent or dialect, or have spent more time listening to fast speakers.

Spend time listening to him and trying to summarise key points - this will force you to concentrate on him, as it is all to easy to let your attention wander if you find a speaker boring, difficult, or otherwise hard to follow.

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