The first 30 seconds of any introduction speech seem like the scariest. It doesn’t take long, however, for the fire of the speech to take hold and you get absorbed in the words along with your audience. The first step is to write an intro that caters to your audience while setting the tone you wish to convey. The idea is to open strong in a way that will have you feeling confident and your audience riveted.
Start with a Question
Presenting a rhetorical question is a welcoming way to write an introductory speech. It allows for your audience to feel included in what you have to say, building a sort of rapport. For example, “Have you ever wanted to pack up your house, quit your job and move to the other side of the world? I did. Then I found this technique for applying business principles to happiness.” By starting your intro speech with a question you allow for a lead-in to present what you want to talk about all while engaging your audience.
Start with a Story
A well-recited story draws the audience in and incites compassion. People remember personal stories far more easily than other facets of public speeches. Think back to a touching story someone told you. You can probably remember not just the details of the story but who told you, where you were when you heard it and even small details like the colors of the clothes each of you were wearing. For example, “When I was a child we had a huge dog that protected me from a stranger coming into our yard.” It paints an immediate visual your audience can relate to. That is how impactful a story can be and that is why it is an excellent introduction speech example. Relate the story to the point of your speech for an easy segue into the rest of your talk.
Start with a Shock
Begin your introduction speech with an attention-grabbing statement that shocks the audience into focusing on what you have to say. Sometimes called the pace and lead approach, you issue a startling statement and then lead your audience to how such a statement can be resolved. “When I was 15 I was in an auto accident that left me unable to walk unassisted for two years.” That sort of thing grabs an audience by the hand and pulls them closer. Public speaking is about being able to focus the attention spans of dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of people at the same time. Beginning your intro speech with a shocking statistic, anecdote or piece of news will have them wondering what else you might say in the rest of your speech.
When writing an introduction speech for public speaking, consider first what tone you are trying to convey and to what type of audience. That will allow you present a speech that people will not only listen to with rapt attention but also remember long after you’ve left the stage.
- Brian Tracy International: 15 Ways to Start a Speech + Bonus Tips
- The Genard Method: How to Start a Speech – 12 Foolproof Ways to Grab Your Audience!
- Public Speaking Power: How To Begin A Public Speech – Your Introduction is Everything
- Toastmasters International: For the Novice: Simple Steps to Writing a Fantastic Speech
- Your goal with an introduction speech is to establish your thesis with two things: (1) a specific topic and (2) a well-defined claim.
- Make sure to include transitions between main points. These will make the speech more cohesive, moving the audience toward the idea in your thesis.
- In the opening of your speech, avoid separating the audience from the speech's content with sentences such as, "My introduction speech is about how my grandmother's death changed my life." Instead, directly address the content (i.e., My grandmother always told me that through death, comes new life."
- Do not use Power Point for your introduction speech -- this will take up too much time and distract the audience. Remember: This is a short speech.
Nicky is a business writer with nearly two decades of hands-on and publishing experience. She's been published in several business publications, including The Employment Times and Business Idea Factory. She also studied business in college.