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'How to' speech ideas

- 50 'how to' public speaking topics for demonstration speeches

By: Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 05-01-2019 | First published: 07-01-2011

These how to speech ideas focus on soft skills often learned the hard way. They make a refreshing change from the usual topics chosen for demonstration or 'how to' speeches.

Let's talk about soft skills

We know soft skills are a vital part of acquiring and sustaining healthy interpersonal relationships. Despite that how we learn good and useful soft skills is frequently overlooked.

What are soft skills?

Image - dandelion seed heads blowing across clear sky.

Soft skills is the name given to the complex bundle of behaviors that help us grow and maintain relationships. Eg. being courteous, accepting criticism well, learning to control our temper, knowing when and how to ask for help ...
 
Check this Wikipedia definition for more. It gives an excellent overview and provides links for further information.

Getting to grips with soft skills

They can be tricky to get a handle on because unlike hard skills (eg. cooking, learning to drive a car, mending a puncture in a bike tire, or skiing) there are no step by step instructions to follow in order to get them.

That makes using them as a subject for a speech even more valuable.

If you can put together a sincere, researched show and tell demonstrating how to use any of the soft skills listed in the topics below you'll be offering something of true worth to your audience. Because if we want to do the best we can for ourselves and each other we need competency in all the soft skills we can get!


Image: Cartoon figures - Happy family - father and son, mother and daughter. Text:Share, show and tell about soft skills. They're vital for healthy relationships.

The absorption method of learning can be unreliable

In an ideal world we would all get great soft skills unconsciously, naturally, without effort. We would simply absorb them from those around us and use them without question in the same way that we breathe without stopping to think whether we need to or not.

However life isn't ideal.

We are human. Our primary role models are not always perfect. Consequently what we learn through observation and experience is often deeply flawed.

Learning from experience

As we become more conscious we begin to understand how our behavior plays a significant role in shaping our lives. If we are open to it the impact of what we do will teach us what we have to learn.

For instance: when, and how to apologize sincerely, how to listen well, how to let go of anger safely and appropriately ...


Having these skills makes a vast difference 

These 'how to topics' list personal skills that collectively make the difference between being hired or not hired, liked or not liked, noticed or ignored, leader or follower ...Using any one of them for your speech could quite literally change someone's life for the better.

There are 5 groups of 10 soft skill demonstration speech topics below to choose from.


 10 soft skill 'how to' speech ideas


Image: drawing of brain- left logic, right creativity. Text: How to speech ideas - how to think creatively.

  1. How to motivate others
  2. How to say 'no' politely
  3. How to think creatively
  4. How to make a 'good' complaint - one that is taken seriously
  5. How to listen effectively
  6. How to apologize sincerely
  7. How to say thank you graciously
  8. How to acknowledge someone who has just been bereaved or suffered a major set back
  9. How to show appreciation or that you care
  10. How to work in a small group

Ten more vital soft skills topics


Image: woman having a temper tantrum
Text: How to handle an adult's temper tantrum

  1. How to think before you speak
  2. How to handle a temper tantrum from
    an adult, a child, a colleague ...
  3. How to respond to bullying toward yourself, or another
  4. How to handle rudeness - being ignored, spoken to disrespectfully ...
  5. How to think on your feet or spontaneously
  6. How to be patient
  7. How to ask for a raise
  8. How to judge timing for opening a sensitive or difficult conversation
  9. How to settle a dispute
  10. How to respond to those who gossip or whine

Another 10 "how to" speech ideas


Image: drawing of 2 rows of multi-colored stylized people. Text: Personal skills speech topics - How to promote cooperation and togetherness.

  • How and when to give a compliment
  • How to tell someone something you know will upset them hugely
  • How to get your opinion valued and listened to

  • How to stop unwanted thoughts
  • How to let go of anger safely and appropriately
  • How to stay calm in difficult situations
  • How to genuinely feel pleased about someone else's good fortune
  • How to focus or concentrate well
  • How to promote cooperation and togetherness
  • How to work harmoniously with someone you don't fully respect or like


 Yet another ten topic possibilities


Image: Neon sign on brick wall reading This is the sign you have been looking for. Text:Useful people skills speech topics - How to use humor well.

  1. How to get, practice and keep a new skill
  2. How to use humor well
  3. How to keep your home life from impacting on your work life
  4. How to be grateful
  5. How to set and achieve new goals
  6. How to organize your time
  7. How to accept criticism positively
  8. How to be gracious in defeat and learn from it
  9. How to acknowledge your shortcomings without debasing yourself
  10. How to put yourself in another's shoes

And the remaining ten suggestions!

Image: two bananas made to look like dolphins. Each has a cherry in its mouth. Text: How to be up-beat and open to new ideas.

  1. How to read and use body language effectively
  2. How to problem solve effectively
  3. How to be 'up-beat' and open to new ideas
  4. How to encourage and support others to step outside the known
  5. How to welcome a new person into your work place
  6. How to break the ice with someone you don't know but want to
  7. How to talk to your manager, (boss), naturally and easily
  8. How to teach a new skill well
  9. How to disagree with someone's idea without offending or putting them down
  10. How to evaluate ideas and events

Working these speech topics


Choosing one as the topic of your demonstration speech could give just the growth opportunity your audience would deeply appreciate.

Don't be afraid to experiment and adapt them to suit. Use role plays to model non-effective and effective interactions and try getting your audience involved with practice and feedback opportunities.

Image - cartoon couple in business clothes talking together. Text: Give your speech creatively. Show & tell, demonstrate using role play.

With a light touch and a dash of self-deprecating humor, the speech will be fun to give and enjoyable to receive.

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