5 fab ways to open your speech with fireworks
How many times have you heard a speech start with, “Good morning/good afternoon/good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Suzy Snooze (or otherwise), and I’d like to tell you about ___ (fill in the blanks)”?
Uh oh…the boring-o-meter just hit maximum!!
Of course, there’s a time for saluting the audience and telling them your name, but grab their attention first. Surprise them into listening. And then, tell them who you are.
So instead of starting with an introduction, why not try one of the following?
Open with a relevant quote
Choose an uplifting or powerful saying that relates to your speech. Recite it with passion, pause, and then introduce yourself. Provided your quote was interesting, you’ll have your audience riveted from the start.
Ask a question
This is a great way to open your speech. Ask a question that requires an answer by show of hands. Raise your own hand, so everyone knows what you want them to do. The audience is immediately engaged, and from their responses, you can see how many people are familiar with your topic.
What if no-one raises their hand? Just remember to make an appropriate comment in response. For example, “Wow! No one here is familiar with that? OK, well today, I’m going to describe how….” etc.
Start with a brief story
Remember, don’t worry about introducing yourself first. Just launch straight into it. Make sure it’s only a minute or two long and illustrates a point that’s relevant to your speech topic. After that, introduce yourself briefly and lead into the body of your speech by explaining why you told that particular story and what it demonstrates. Your audience will be hooked!
Say something surprising or shocking
Find an engaging or hard-hitting statistic that demonstrates your point. Again, make sure it’s relevant to your speech topic. Lead with it and give the audience a moment or two to absorb what you’ve said. If you rush on too quickly after dropping your bombshell, the audience won’t have time to grasp its impact.
Refer to a current event
This could be from the news or something that happened to you or some of the delegates.
This is a great way to impress your audience. They’ll think you’re clever, flexible, and observant. Scan the local paper or look online to find a relevant headline or story. Make a positive comment about to the local town, or for example, if the trains were down and everyone struggled to get to the event on time, make a positive comment about your shared experience.
Win over your audience from the start by opening in a non-obvious way. They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll earn some brownie points. You may not hear the fireworks go off in the distance but your audience will feel them!
Need more speaking tips? head over to our fabulous freebies section or get in touch with Shola for a friendly chat
These are great ideas, thank you Shola. I want to speak more to teens so I think it’s extra important I start strong with that audience!! Any tips on getting speaking gigs at schools?
Thanks Kirsti! Good luck with that. Speaking to teens can be challenging but very rewarding too.