The speed of the responses in a broadcast interview is highly significant and can make or mar the success of an interview in the eyes of the audience.
Responses that are too quick can leave the listener grasping for breath, unable to keep up. For the interviewee, a fast delivery may seem the only solution when a mass of information and detail has to be delivered in a short time. But it doesn’t work.
On the other hand, responses that are delivered with ponderous solemnity, giving every word equal weight, will leave the audience overwhelmed and confused. For the interviewee, convinced of the global significance of every word, it may seem the only way. But that doesn’t work either.
Instead, a variation of speed should be the aim. Slow down for the most significant passages, speed up for the words linking them.
For an example of how this works, listen to the TV newsreader delivering the headlines. “Coming up later in the programme -” can be delivered at speed, but the next few words should be taken much slower–“how scientists are getting ever closer to the origins of the universe”.
Not only does a change of speed produce welcome variety, it also pinpoints for the listeners exactly where they should be paying attention.