How to Write an Introduction Speech for Public Speaking

Clear organization is key to a successful speech.
Clear organization is key to a successful speech. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Time spent giving a speech can seem like an eternity, especially if you feel unprepared and are not sure what to say next. If you must introduce yourself to an audience, you can feel even more exposed because your topic cannot be objectively researched and you will have to speak from a first-person perspective. Thinking through an introduction speech well before it occurs can help to ensure you include your essential points and present them in a well-organized, coherent fashion.

Brainstorm points to include in your speech. The nature of your audience will determine your content. Your speech might be directed toward a prospective employer, a new group of students or to a general audience. Plan to tell an employer about your work history and education. Tell your new class of students about your areas of expertise, and tell a general audience interesting facts about yourself.

Develop an introduction. This should include a short greeting and interesting fact or quote to grab your audience's attention. Briefly summarize your main points, the purpose of your speech and why the audience should be interested. A teacher addressing a new class might say, "I'm going to give an overview of the course and let you know about my background, research interests and expectations of you as students."

Plan the body of your speech. Divide your speech into three to five sections that expand upon your key points. The teacher might start by talking about his academic background and describe where he completed his education and more details about his research work. He could then segue into talking about the course by describing how the course material fits in with his research. After providing details about the course he could describe the grading scheme and what is required of students to achieve high marks.

Write a conclusion. Begin your conclusion with a shift in your tone of voice or a phrase that alerts the audience you'll be finishing up. "In conclusion" or "before I conclude" are both acceptable phrases. Re-state your main points and leave the audience with the key message from your speech. The teacher might say he's looking forward to working with the class and that he's available during office hours for any questions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your goal with an introduction speech is to establish your thesis with two things: (1) a specific topic and (2) a well-defined claim.
  • Make sure to include transitions between main points. These will make the speech more cohesive, moving the audience toward the idea in your thesis.
  • In the opening of your speech, avoid separating the audience from the speech's content with sentences such as, "My introduction speech is about how my grandmother's death changed my life." Instead, directly address the content (i.e., My grandmother always told me that through death, comes new life."
  • Do not use Power Point for your introduction speech -- this will take up too much time and distract the audience. Remember: This is a short speech.

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