Good Ways to Start a Speech

A good introduction is essential to making a good speech. Whether all eyes in the room are on you, or whether they're wandering and wondering when they can leave, setting the right tone can grab your audience's attention and keep the crowd interested and in your favor. Starting a speech is all about timing, word choice, and making sure your first words are appropriate to the occasion.

  1. The Anecdote

    • People love stories. If you're giving a toast at a wedding, tell a heartwarming story about the couple. If you're speaking at a retirement party, tell about something funny or incredible the celebrant did. If you're speaking at your kid's career day, open with the most interesting thing that has ever happened on your job.

    The Shocker

    • Relevant, interesting and surprising statistics serve a double purpose: They get people's attention, and they make your point right away. If you're speaking at a cancer-research fundraiser, offer a statistic on new cancer cases. Or find a statistic that illustrates how advances in medicine have improved survival rates.

    Use Props and Body Language

    • Let's say you're giving a speech about gymnastics. If you can do a backflip, do a backflip. If your'e giving a speech about playing guitar, play some guitar. And if you're giving a speech about sign language, sign it as you're speaking.

    Tell a Joke

    • This one has high risks but high returns. If you're at a roast, let it fly. But if your'e at a more proper occasion, know your audience and play it safe so as to not offend anyone.

    Edit Beforehand

    • Good speakers use their words wisely and economically. Pay particular attention to the wording of your introduction. Use no more words than you need; for example, instead of saying "I personally feel that Jim has done wonderfully for our company," just say "Jim has done wonderfully for our company." The audience will realize that this is your opinion.

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