How many words in a 5 minute speech (word count)

December 22, 2022

2 min read

It is helpful to write the script of a speech before delivering it live. However, we’re always unsure of what number of words is enough! This article explains how many words to include in 5 minute, 3 minute, 7 minute speech, 10 minute speech and the formula behind it. We’ll also cover how quickly or slowly to speak in different situations

How to calculate number of words in a speech

Most native English speakers speak at 140 words per minute (this varies across cultures). The typical conversational pace lies in the range from 130 – 170 words per minute. While average numbers for speaking rates are helpful, note that the variation in pace is what makes a speech interesting – you want to go fast in sections that convey excitement and slow down to pause in areas where you want the audience to think.

Software to calculate number of words in a speech

Try Yoodli’s free AI speech coaching app to see how quickly you speak. Yoodli will instantly generate your pacing analytic and compare how you did relative to celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Barrack Obama. You’ll also see an instant transcript of your speech to help you count the number of words. Here are typical speaking rates for speeches run through Yoodli:

Number of words in 5 minute speech. Oprah Winfrey's pace of 134 words per minute is conversational

Examples of words per minute depending on speaker type:

It may not always be appropriate to speak at a conversational pace. For instance, if you’re speaking at a eulogy, you might want to come across as somber and speak more slowly. In the same vein, you might consider speaking slower when addressing an audience that may not speak your language or won’t understand your topic (speaking more slowly gives them an opportunity to internalize what’s being said).

Alternatively, if you’re trying to demonstrate passion and excitement you might want to speak much faster than conversational pace. Think of the soccer broadcaster celebrating a world cup goal! If they spoke at an average pace, we wouldn’t know that the goal is a crucial moment or something to celebrate.

We’ve listed some average speaking rates below:

Average speech rates

  • Presentations: between 120-150 wpm for a comfortable pace
  • Conversational: between 120-170 wpm
  • Audiobooks: between 150-160 wpm, which is the upper range that people comfortably hear and vocalize words
  • Radio hosts and podcasters: between 150-160 wpm
  • Auctioneers: can speak at about 250 wpm
  • Commentators: between 250-400 wpm

How many words are in a 5 minute speech?

Most speakers have 650 – 850 words in a 5 minute speech, with the average at ~700 words.

How many words are in a 3 minute speech?

Most speakers have 390 – 510 words in a 5 minute speech, with the average at ~420 words.

How many words are in a 6 minute speech?

Most speakers have 780 – 1020 words in a 7 minute speech, with the average at ~840 words.

How many words are in a 7 minute speech?

Most speakers have 910 – 1190 words in a 7 minute speech, with the average at ~980 words.

How many words are in a 10 minute speech?

Most speakers have 1300 – 1700 words in a 7 minute speech, with the average at ~1400 words.