The breathless cadence of a professional auctioneer is fascinating, and sometimes barely decipherable (tobacco auctioneers are an extreme example). Why do they fill the air with nonstop patter -and so fast?
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." 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.