Public Speaking Expert
The opening minutes of a speech are the most important. You have up to 20 seconds to get people’s attention and engage your audience. This is your chance to stand out and make them pay attention to your speech. Do not open your speech with a boring phrase like “Thank you for that kind introduction. I’m pleased to be here and share my views with you.” The customary “nice-to-be-here” platitudes bog down most speech openings. Try to be different and come up with something new. Here are some of the best ways to start your speech:
Open Your Speech with Style
The best way to open your speech or presentation is to jump to the topic and say something that draws attention. People make value judgments about you in the first 30 to 60 seconds of your speech. If you want to impress, make your introduction interesting and engaging. Tease your listeners from the second you open your mouth.
Share a Personal Story
Tell a personal story that is related to the topic. Share your observations. Most people enjoy stories. This is a great way to make people interested in your message. Stories have the power to convey messages in a creative way.
Start with a Quotation
Start your speech with a quotation from a successful writer, politician, or celebrity. Part of the impact comes from the name recognition itself. Make sure you choose a quote or humorous remark that is not very common.
Make a Controversial Statement
Controversial statements will catch people’s attention and keep them guessing about what your conclusion will be. Say something that is out of the ordinary. Present shocking facts or statistics. Research your topic and you’ll uncover some fascinating information to impress your audience.
Ask a Provocative Question
Certain questions can increase audience buy-in from the very beginning. Use “why” and “how” questions. For example, you can say something like: “How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume?” Asking questions will help you build a relationship with the audience and establish a pattern of listening. You can also use rhetorical questions.
Use a Compelling Anecdote
While it’s not recommended to start your speech with a joke, you can use a short, amusing story. Share a personal experience or talk about someone else’s experiences. If you’re speaking at your children’s career day, talk about the most interesting thing that has ever happened on your job. If you’re speaking at a wedding, share a story about the couple.