There are about 480 words in an average-paced three-minute speech spoken by an adult, according to Wichita State University. Adults speak at about 160 words per minute.

Wichita State University reports that many children effectively understand speech up to about 124 words per minute, and that, notably, Fred Rogers, of the television show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," deliberately spoke at 124 words per minute in an effort to deliver information to children in an effective, enjoyable way. Some of the difficulties children experience understanding what adults are saying may be what adults perceive as inattentiveness, or it may be a result of adults simply speaking too fast.