Your Speech Introduction
Can Hook Listeners

Every speech has a beginning, middle and end. The role of your speech introduction is to get a listener's attention and tell them what the speech is about.

A strong beginning takes many forms. Let's look at two examples.

Using a quote or story.

If the speech is about the need for more support to small businesses in the community, you could do one of two things:

You could find a quote that ties into the speech topic.

Maybe one about small business or one about the value of community. Whatever it is, it should allow you to move right into the heart of what is being shared.

You could also use a story.

Perhaps you know about a local small business that is making a big difference in the community. Use this story in your speech introduction to illustrate why supporting small business is so important.

Making a challenging statement

When you want to make listeners think, you need to wake them up with something they do not expect.

Using a challenging statement does exactly that. But be sure you can back up what you are saying.

Don't do it just for shock value.

Going back to our small business example, you might use something about the loss of a small business is like the death of a loved one.

It's not a pretty comparison, but if you can back up the statement by showing that the devastation to the owners and the local community are similar, it is a valid one.

Using an attention getting opening will make listeners sit up and pay attention.

But beware

There are some sneaky beginnings that sneak into even the best speech writer's work.

Avoid these. They weaken and undermine the purpose of the speech:

  • Opening with an apology.
  • Using an unrelated quote or joke just for shock value.
  • A story that is too long or too slow to conclude.
  • Trick anything. Questions, tricks. They alienate the audience.

In essence, the strong speech introduction gets and keeps attention without playing with the collective mind of the audience.

Don't be cute, be interesting.

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