Verbal Fluency Exercises: A Lesser Known Exercise

By Min Liu | Verbal Skills

In another article of mine, you learned the two most basic verbal fluency exercises (semantic and phonetic) to assess and train your baseline verbal fluency. In this article, you will learn another verbal fluency exercise that is not as well known.

Most of the Time, the Basics Are All You Need

Having said that, the two basic verbal fluency exercises are all most people really need.

Don’t think that when I use the word “basic”, I mean ineffective or simplistic.

Just doing these two basic exercises consistently (hopefully daily) for a little bit (3-5 minutes/day) over a period of time (at least one month) will pay great dividends with your verbal fluency.

Really, you don’t really need to get too fancy with your verbal fluency training.

Those two exercises may seem simple, but they are essential to developing (and maintaining) your verbal fluency.

As with anything in life, the basics are what you mostly need.

You are probably familiar by now with the 80/20 Rule.

If not, what it basically means is that 80% of your progress in anything can be attributed to only about 20% of your activities.

What does this mumbo jumbo mean?

It means that you only need to do a little bit to get a lot of results, as long as that little bit is impactful.

The 80/20 Rule applies to verbal fluency training as well.

Even though it’s just two mere exercises that seem rather simple, you can make very substantial progress in your verbal fluency by just consistently practicing these two basic exercises.


However, even though I just said that, I know some of you hardcore folks want more, more, more!

I don’t blame you, high verbal fluency is absolutely important if you wish to become a great speaker or communicator.

That’s because verbal fluency is the engine that provides the horsepower for all your verbal skills, whether that conversation, public speaking, expositional speaking, persuasion, wit, and more.

With little horsepower, your verbal skills will sputter and go nowhere quickly.

A great speaker or communicator has full command over his/her vocabulary and never has trouble coming up with free-flowing words and phrases that captivate other people.

With poor/low verbal fluency, you have little hope of becoming a great speaker or communicator. You will stumble over your words or have problems expressing yourself properly.

Now, most people are not at the extremes. They’re more in the middle somewhere.

If you’re not trying to become an elite communicator or speaker but you don’t want to have poor verbal fluency, then just stick with the basic two exercises.

But, if you wish to become an elite-level communicator/speaker, then yes, there are quite a few other exercises beyond the two basic verbal fluency exercises you can (and should) do to further extend your training and dial up your verbal fluency to the max!

Based on my review of the research studies out there on verbal fluency, there are up to TWENTY total verbal fluency exercises that can be used to conduct verbal fluency training.

In this article, I am going to share with you ONE of these lesser known verbal fluency exercises that is directly from my verbal fluency training program, Double Your Verbal Fluency In 30 Days.

So, here goes…

One Lesser Known Exercise: A Twist on The Phonemic Fluency Exercise

This exercise is a twist on the basic phonemic fluency exercise that I wrote about in this article.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words.

Now, here were the instructions from that article on the basic phonemic/letter fluency exercise:

Name all of the words you can think of that start with the letter F in 60 seconds.  Repeat with letter A.  Repeat with letter S.  Do not count repeats and do not count proper nouns like names of places or people.

Add up the total number of words and divide by three.  That is your average.  Do not count repeats and do not count proper nouns like names of places or people.

Now, for this “twist” exercise, we are going to change this basic phonemic verbal fluency exercise slightly and get a little more specific in terms of the word sounds that we are trying to produce.

Because we are going to get more specific on the sounds that you have to produce, you will have to work a little harder to find the right words. It will be more challenging that the basic phonetic fluency exercise.

Remember, verbal fluency is all about training your brain to find the right words whenever you want.

So, here are the instructions for the “twist” on the phonemic fluency exercise:

Instead of the just first letter of a word, such as F or A, we are going to focus on more specific “sounds” at the beginning of a word instead.

Name all of the words you can think of that start with the sound “PL” in 60 seconds.  If you run out of “PL” words, then try “BL” words. 

Repeat this exercise with the sound “BR”, again for 60 seconds. If you run out of “BR” words, then try “DR” words. 

Then, repeat with with the sound “CL”, again for 60 seconds. If you run out of “CL” words, then try “TR” words. 

Add up the total number of words and divide by three.  That is your average.  Do not count repeats and do not count proper nouns like names of places or people.

Please check out the accompanying video here if you want to do these exercises along with a video timer.

Please post your score in the comments (score, age, gender) and share your results with everyone else!

As I mentioned in my prior article on verbal fluency tests, there is very little data on what constitutes an “average” or a “good” score, so it is imperative we share our results with others to start building a good database for this purpose.

The next time you practice this exercise, come up with three other “starting sounds” to focus on.

How To Train Your Verbal Fluency: Verbal Fluency Improvement

In order to improve your verbal fluency, you will want to frequently test your verbal fluency while also frequently practicing verbal fluency exercises and verbal fluency activities.

I also forgot to mention that when you do this exercise, make sure you do the exercise OUT LOUD. It is NOT sufficient to do it in your mind only and that is because you are training VERBAL fluency.

The words must come out of your mouth for them to count!

I hope this additional lesser known exercise gives you more to work with in terms of training your verbal fluency.

This “twist” on the basic phonemic fluency exercise is still fairly basic, in other words, this is still a basic level verbal fluency exercise.

But of course, there are many more verbal fluency exercises of a more intermediate and advanced level that you can do.

If you want to train your verbal fluency and learn ALL TWENTY exercises you can use to dramatically improve your verbal fluency, go to


About the Author

Min Liu is a corporate lawyer, Amazon #1 bestselling author, the founder of The Art of Verbal War, where people learn to EXCEL in verbal skills, and in the words of his readers, he's the "big brother you never had".

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