Starting your speech in a good manner can increase the likelihood that your overall message will be well received by the audience. Regardless of the topic or occasion, a good start can have an immediate impact on the outcome. Knowing how to start a speech is a valuable skill, but it takes practice and theoretical knowledge. In this article, we discuss the importance of starting a speech well and ways to do it.
Why is it important to know how to start a speech well?
The introduction to the speech is meant to grab the audience’s attention and persuade them to pay attention to the rest of what you have to say. Starting off well is likely to increase the chances of the audience staying focused throughout the entire speech, making it more effective. A good start can also increase the speaker’s credibility by building an image of a charismatic and authoritative person, so that the audience is more likely to receive the message positively.
How to be creative during a professional speech
There are several ways to be creative when writing and delivering a professional speech. Some of them are:
- Include personal experiences. Even in a highly professional scenario, adding a personal story to a speech will increase the likelihood that the audience will pay attention and agree with the overall message.
- Tell a story. Delivering the content of your speech in the form of a narrated story will make it more attractive to your audience than simply stating facts.
- Asking question. If the situation allows, interacting with your audience and incorporating questions into your presentation are creative ways to get everyone interested in what you have to say.
- Use props and technology. Helping your audience visualize the elements of your speech with the help of objects and monitors will increase the likelihood that they will understand your message.
Great way to start a speech
Starting off well and getting your audience’s attention can be done in a number of ways. Here are some of them:
1. Thank the broadcaster for introducing you and the audience who attended
Thanking the broadcaster for introducing you and the audience to being at the top of your speech can be very effective, as it creates an instant connection with the audience.
2. Name famous personalities
Another effective way to start a speech is to mention something universally known people did that relates to what you were going to say. Famous characters generally grab people’s attention, so sharing a story that features something they said or did will likely grab your audience’s attention.
3. Praise your audience
Telling your audience how privileged it is for you to speak in front of them and telling them how much you respect them will likely increase their opinion of you and get them to listen more closely to what you have to say.
4. Link your messages to current events
You can grab your audience’s attention by linking the entire theme of your speech to a recent, widely known event. People are generally attracted to newsworthy stories, making them more likely to be interested in what you have to say. However, this has to be something non-controversial and most people in the audience will probably accept it in a positive way.
5. Link your messages to historical events
Likewise, you can increase the attention of your listeners by associating your message with well-known historical events or personalities. This can make your speech more credible, by associating your speech with the person or event you are referring to.
6.Create a “what if” scenario
Opening with “what if” questions that relate directly to the entire topic will allow the audience to use their imagination and follow your thought process throughout the entire speech.
7. Make a strong statement followed by a question
Starting with a strong statement that relates to the context of your speech can grab the audience’s attention, and following up with a question will get them to think of an answer, as people usually tend to answer when asked a question. After getting them to think about the answer to your question, there is a higher chance that they will be interested in what you have to say next.
8. Use familiarity
People tend to be attracted by familiar information, so starting with a phrase they can relate to will increase their likelihood of continuing to hear what you have to say.
9. Use your own strength
It is best to start the speech in a way that is natural to you. If you are naturally funny, then you should include humor in your opening. Likewise, if accuracy is one of your dominant traits, a well-crafted fact or statistic may be the most effective way to start.
10. Get to the point
If delivered with confidence, getting right to the heart of the speech and skipping introductions can be very effective. A strong tone and strong body language will help make this method more likely to create a positive effect on the audience.
Things to avoid when starting a speech
Here are some things you should avoid when starting a speech:
- Low energy projecting: Non-verbal cues are usually as important as verbal cues and are easy for the audience to understand. Approaching a stage with bad posture and starting to speak in a way that shows confidence and low energy will likely detract from audience interest.
- Have an unrelated opening to the audience or event: Opening a speech in a generic way unrelated to the person you are talking to or the event you are speaking to probably won’t create interest in what you have to say.
- Look nervous: Most people, including professional speakers, get nervous before giving a speech. While nervousness is natural, expressing some habits that are usually associated with nervousness, such as tidying up your clothes, not standing still or touching your face, can have a negative impact on your audience’s perception of what you say.
- Ask the audience a question they feel they need to answer verbally: Asking rhetorical questions or questions that make the audience think of the answer is an effective way to initiate a speech, asking questions they think they should answer, such as asking how they felt that day, most likely will affect your momentum.
- Overconfidence : Just like showing a lack of self-confidence, showing too much can make the viewer lose interest. Building a relationship with listeners requires speakers who are close to their level.
- Using too many statistics: While mentioning eye-catching statistics can engage your audience in a positive way, including too much data in your opening speech can cause people to turn their attention to something else.
- Focus too much on yourself or your company : Sharing details about yourself or your organization can take the focus away from the main topic of the speech.