The opening of your speech is like the first line of a novel. It's important to grab your audience's interest and hold onto it. In many ways your delivery is as important as what you say.
Start with a powerful body stance. Stand straight and tall with your back straight and your shoulders squared. Know your beginning lines so you can look out at your audience rather than down at the podium.
Speak your first sentence loud and clear. The person in the last row should not have to strain to hear what you are saying. Use vocal variety to increase and decrease the volume of your voice but never shout and never whisper. Make eye contact with audience members as you speak.
Use pauses between sentences. This is not "ahs" or "uhms". Silent pauses allow your audience to think about what you just said. Pauses are very effective in public speaking.
Open with a statement that is inspiring, motivating or encouraging and get right to the point of your speech. Your statement should grab your audience and say Wow! Do not open with a joke. Do not open with a sad story. Powerful speech openings have powerful messages.
Tips & Warnings
- Practice makes perfect. Videotape yourself and see how you appear. Ask family and friends to watch you.
- Watch other speakers. Technology makes it easy to watch others online.
- Don't apologize for nervousness. You will call attention to something others may not even notice.
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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