Auctioneers Talk Quickly for a Psychological Reason That Helps Money Flow

If you've ever watched a live auction and wondered why the auctioneers talk so fast, you're not alone. Keep reading for the reason.

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Mar. 31 2021, Updated 12:56 p.m. ET

Auctioneers Don't Talk Fast Just Because They're on a Time Crunch
Source: Netflix

Even if you've never been to an auction, chances are you've got a good idea of what one entails. There's a lot of fast talking, people in suits holding up cards, and maybe there's a gavel involved. OK, there's definitely a gavel — how else are you going to mark the closing of a sale?

But let's be honest: It's the loose-lipped quick speaking of auctioneers that's the true hallmark of any self-respecting sale. So, have you ever stopped to wonder why they talk so fast?

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Seriously, why do auctioneers talk so fast?

While you may think that speaking quickly has do with the fact that auctioneers are trying to save everybody's time, the real reason they speak so fast is to get you to buy more stuff.

How does that work? Well, it's deeply rooted in the psychology of rhythm.

By creating a rhythm, it becomes easier for people to fall into a pattern of behavior, and this principle applies to almost any phenomenon. Great fighters will create a rhythm in a fight and then break that rhythm accordingly, adjusting it to catch their opponent off balance. The same applies to folks at an auction.

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why do auctioneers talk so fast
Source: Getty

By creating this response with their fast talking, people will be more inclined to lift their placards up in a back-and-forth of bidding. Slate reports: "They talk like that to hypnotize the bidders. Auctioneers don't just talk fast—they chant in a rhythmic monotone so as to lull onlookers into a conditioned pattern of call and response, as if they were playing a game of 'Simon Says.'"

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The article continued, "The speed is also intended to give the buyers a sense of urgency: Bid now or lose out. And it doesn't hurt the bottom line, either. Auctioneers typically take home from 10 to 20 percent of the sale price. Selling more items in less time means they make more money."

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If you're trying to become an auctioneer like Emily Wears from 'Storage Wars,' there's a school you can attend.

Your best bet is to hit up the National Auctioneers Association in order to start your career in a very specific brand of tongue-twisting sales. 

But the curriculum isn't just centered on fast-talking techniques.

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These highly specialized schools can also teach a person how to operate their own auctioning business, how to facilitate sales contracts, and how to establish connections with other auctioneers. So if it was always your dream to call on people to compete with their dollars, you may want to hit up one of these programs.

Speaking of Emily Wears, she's actually an award-winning auctioneer: yes there are awards for this line of work. And while she's probably best known for her tenure on Storage Wars, she's made a pretty great career for herself outside of the popular reality TV series.

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