Speech Exercise - Speech Topics for Five Step How-To Speeches

Speech Skill: Pace

Audience behind smiling speaker with microphone at community center
A woman successfully giving a speech. Tom Merton / Getty Images

(This speech exercise is part of the Speak for Success Course. While you can use this exercise to work on your speech skills at any time, it’s designed to work on a particular speech skill that you can find out more about at Speak for Success Speech Lesson 4.)

Because the pace of speech and comprehension are so closely linked, this exercise focuses on speaking at the optimum pace for making your message understood.

You will need a partner to work through this speech exercise. His or her task is to comprehend what you're saying and give you feedback about your speech pace.


As the speaker, your task is to tell him or her how to do something in five steps. You may jot down the five steps you're going to use as speaking points on a piece of paper before you begin if you wish. Choose one of the following speech topics and think of five steps describing how to do it. Then tell your partner how to go about it. You may use props if necessary.

Speech Topics:

  1. How to perfectly boil an egg
  2. How to plant a tree
  3. How to send an email
  4. How to handle a customer complaint
  5. How to send a letter
  6. How to evaluate an employee
  7. How to replace a printer cartridge
  8. How to impress a client
  9. How to give a good speech
  10. How to make the perfect cup of coffee or tea
  11. How to hang a picture
  12. How to send a text 
  13. How to quit your job
  14. How to set a table
  1. How to clean a toilet
  2. How to organize a closet
  3. How to change the oil in a vehicle
  4. How to warm up before exercising
  5. How to block someone on Facebook
  6. How to be safe on the Internet
  7. How to walk a dog
  8. How to wash your hands properly
  9. How to declutter your home
  10. How to make a paper snowflake
  11. How to remove a stain from clothing
  1. How to impress someone
  2. How to taste wine
  3. How to get a raise
  4. How to let someone know you like them without telling them so
  5. How to play poker
  6. How to housetrain a puppy
  7. How to make the best pizza
  8. How to clean the gutters on your house
  9. How to decorate a Christmas tree
  10. How to save money
  11. How to fly a kite
  12. How to pick the best movie
  13. how to increase your confidence
  14. How to give a great presentation
  15. How to become popular
  16. How to make someone believe you
  17. How to prepare your house for sale
  18. How to be safe when boating
  19. How to balance a bank account
  20. How to change a light bulb

After Your Speech

When you’ve finished speaking, ask your partner to repeat the five steps you spoke of. Did he or she get all of them?

If not, why? Did you speak too quickly or too slowly or was there some other speech problem that interfered with communication?

Rerun the exercise with a different topic as many times as you like.

Other speech skills that this exercise provides suitable practice for include:

Not using fillers - covered in Speak for Success Speech Lesson 2

Clarity - covered in Speak for Success Speech Lesson 1

Enunciation - covered in Speak for Success Speech Lesson 1

Eye contact - covered in Speak for Success Speech Lesson 6

Active Listening - covered in Speak for Success Speech Lesson 6

Return to Speak for Success Speech Lesson 4.