Introduction Speech - A Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
11 min read
Published on: Nov 10, 2018
Last updated on: Nov 7, 2023
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Introduction speeches are all around us. Whenever we meet a new group of people in formal settings, we have to introduce ourselves. That’s what an introduction speech is all about.
When you're facing a formal audience, your ability to deliver a compelling introductory speech can make a lot of difference. With the correct approach, you can build credibility and connections.
In this blog, we'll take you through the steps to craft an impactful introduction speech. You’ll also get examples and valuable tips to ensure you leave a lasting impression.
So, let's dive in!
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What is an Introduction Speech?
An introduction speech, or introductory address, is a brief presentation at the beginning of an event or public speaking engagement. Its primary purpose is to establish a connection with the audience and to introduce yourself or the main speaker.
This type of speech is commonly used in a variety of situations, including:
- Public Speaking: When you step onto a stage to address a large crowd, you start with an introduction to establish your presence and engage the audience.
- Networking Events: When meeting new people in professional or social settings, an effective introduction speech can help you make a memorable first impression.
- Formal Gatherings: From weddings to conferences, introductions set the tone for the event and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
In other words, an introduction speech is simply a way to introduce yourself to a crowd of people.
How to Write an Introduction Speech?
Before you can just go and deliver your speech, you need to prepare for it. Writing a speech helps you organize your ideas and prepare your speech effectively.
Here is how to introduce yourself in a speech.
- Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is crucial. Consider their interests, backgrounds, and expectations to tailor your introduction accordingly.
For instance, the audience members could be your colleagues, new classmates, or various guests depending on the occasion. Understanding your audience will help you decide what they are expecting from you as a speaker.
- Start with a Hook
Begin with a captivating opening line that grabs your audience's attention. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a thought-provoking question about yourself or the occasion.
- Introduce Yourself
Introduce yourself to the audience. State your name, occupation, or other details relevant to the occasion. You should mention the reason for your speech clearly. It will build your credibility and give the readers reasons to stay with you and read your speech.
- Keep It Concise
So how long is an introduction speech?
Introduction speeches should be brief and to the point. Aim for around 1-2 minutes in most cases. Avoid overloading the introduction with excessive details.
- Highlight Key Points
Mention the most important information that establishes the speaker's credibility or your own qualifications. Write down any relevant achievements, expertise, or credentials to include in your speech. Encourage the audience to connect with you using relatable anecdotes or common interests.
- Rehearse and Edit
Practice your introduction speech to ensure it flows smoothly and stays within the time frame. Edit out any unnecessary information, ensuring it's concise and impactful.
- Tailor for the Occasion
Adjust the tone and content of your introduction speech to match the formality and purpose of the event. What works for a business conference may not be suitable for a casual gathering.
Introduction Speech Outline
To assist you in creating a structured and effective introduction speech, here's a simple outline that you can follow:
Here is an example outline for a self-introduction speech.
Outline for Self-Introduction Speech
7 Ways to Open an Introduction Speech
You can start your introduction speech as most people do:
“Hello everyone, my name is _____. I will talk about _____. Thank you so much for having me. So first of all _______”
However, this is the fastest way to make your audience lose interest. Instead, you should start by captivating your audience’s interest. Here are 7 ways to do that:
Start with a thought-provoking quote that relates to your topic or the occasion. E.g. "Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'You must be the change you want to see in the world."
- Anecdote or Story
Begin with a brief, relevant anecdote or story that draws the audience in. It could be a story about yourself or any catchy anecdote to begin the flow of your speech.
Pose a rhetorical question to engage the audience's curiosity and involvement. For example, "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back in time, to experience a moment in history?”
- Statistic or Fact
Share a surprising statistic or interesting fact that underscores the significance of your speech. E.g. “Did you know that as of today, over 60% of the world's population has access to the internet?”
- “What If” Scenario
Paint a vivid "What if" scenario that relates to your topic, sparking the audience's imagination and curiosity. For example, "What if I told you that a single decision today could change the course of your life forever?"
- Ignite Imagination
Encourage the audience to envision a scenario related to your topic. For instance, "Imagine a world where clean energy powers everything around us, reducing our carbon footprint to almost zero."
Start your introduction speech with a moment of silence, allowing the audience to focus and anticipate your message. This can be especially powerful in creating a sense of suspense and intrigue.
Introduction Speech Example
To help you understand how to put these ideas into practice, here are the introduction speech examples for different scenarios.
Introduction Speech Writing Sample
Short Introduction Speech Sample
Self Introduction Speech for College Students
Introduction Speech about Yourself
Student Presentation Introduction Speech Script
Teacher Introduction Speech
New Employee Self Introduction Speech
Introduction Speech for Chief Guest
Moreover, here is a video example of a self introduction. Watch it to understand how you should deliver your speech:
Want to read examples for other kinds of speeches? Find the best speeches at our blog about speech examples !
Introduction Speech Ideas
So now that you’ve understood what an introduction speech is, you may want to write one of your own. So what should you talk about?
The following are some ideas to start an introduction speech for a presentation, meeting, or social gathering in an engaging way.
- Personal Story: Share a brief personal story or an experience that has shaped you, introducing yourself on a deeper level.
- Professional Background: Introduce yourself by highlighting your professional background, including your career achievements and expertise.
- Hobby or Passion: Discuss a hobby or passion that you're enthusiastic about, offering insights into your interests and what drives you.
- Volunteer Work: Introduce yourself by discussing your involvement in volunteer work or community service, demonstrating your commitment to making a difference.
- Travel Adventures: Share anecdotes from your travel adventures, giving the audience a glimpse into your love for exploring new places and cultures.
- Books or Literature: Provide an introduction related to a favorite book, author, or literary work, revealing your literary interests.
- Achievements and Milestones: Highlight significant achievements and milestones in your life or career to introduce yourself with an impressive track record.
- Cultural Heritage: Explore your cultural heritage and its influence on your identity, fostering a sense of cultural understanding.
- Social or Environmental Cause: Discuss your dedication to a particular social or environmental cause, inviting the audience to join you in your mission.
- Future Aspirations: Share your future goals and aspirations, offering a glimpse into what you hope to achieve in your personal or professional life.
You can deliver engaging speeches on all kinds of topics. Here is a list of entertaining speech topics to get inspiration.
Tips for Delivering the Best Introduction Speech
Here are some tips for you to write a perfect introduction speech in no time.
Now that you know how to write an effective introduction speech, let's focus on the delivery. The way you present your introduction is just as important as the content itself.
Here are some valuable tips to ensure you deliver a better introduction speech:
- Maintain Eye Contact
Make eye contact with the audience to establish a connection. This shows confidence and engages your listeners.
- Use Appropriate Body Language
Your body language should convey confidence and warmth. Stand or sit up straight, use open gestures, and avoid fidgeting.
- Mind Your Pace
Speak at a moderate pace, avoiding rapid speech. A well-paced speech is easier to follow and more engaging.
- Avoid Filler Words
Minimize the use of filler words such as "um," "uh," and "like." They can be distracting and detract from your message.
- Be Enthusiastic
Convey enthusiasm about the topic or the speaker. Your energy can be contagious and inspire the audience's interest.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Rehearse your speech multiple times. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or seek feedback from others.
- Be Mindful of Time
Stay within the allocated time for your introduction. Going too long can make your speech too boring for the audience.
- Engage the Audience
Encourage the audience's participation. You could do that by asking rhetorical questions, involving them in a brief activity, or sharing relatable anecdotes.
Mistakes to Avoid in an Introduction Speech
While crafting and delivering an introduction speech, it's important to be aware of common pitfalls that can diminish its effectiveness. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a more engaging and memorable introduction.
Here are some key mistakes to steer clear of:
- Rambling On
One of the most common mistakes is making the introduction too long. Keep it concise and to the point. The purpose is to set the stage, not steal the spotlight.
- Lack of Preparation
Failing to prepare adequately can lead to stumbling, awkward pauses, or losing your train of thought. Rehearse your introduction to build confidence.
- Using Jargon or Complex Language
Avoid using technical jargon or complex language that may confuse the audience. Your introduction should be easily understood by everyone.
- Being Too Generic
A generic or uninspiring introduction can set a lackluster tone. Ensure your introduction is tailored to the event and speaker, making it more engaging.
- Using Inappropriate Humor
Be cautious with humor, as it can easily backfire. Avoid inappropriate or potentially offensive jokes that could alienate the audience.
- Not Tailoring to the Occasion
An introduction should be tailored to the specific event's formality and purpose. A one-size-fits-all approach may not work in all situations.
An introduction speech is more than just a formality. It's an opportunity to engage, inspire, and connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
With the help of this blog, you're well-equipped to shine in various contexts. So, step onto that stage, speak confidently, and captivate your audience from the very first word.
Moreover, you’re not alone in your journey to becoming a confident introducer. If you ever need assistance in preparing your speech, let the experts help you out.
MyPerfectWords.com offers a reputable essay writing service with experienced professionals who can craft tailored introductions, ensuring your speech makes a lasting impact.
Don't hesitate; hire our professionals now to procure speeches at budget-friendly rates for your " Write my speech " needs.
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Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.
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15 Ways to Start a Speech + Bonus Tips
You have heard the saying “First impressions are lasting; you never get a second chance to create a good first impression.”
The same is true when talking about how to start a speech…
The truth is, when you start your speech, you must focus everything on making a positive first impression on your audience members (especially if you are doing the presentation virtually ). The introduction is basically the formal greetings for speeches, so let’s be sure to get this right to really hook the audience.
Here are 15 different ways to start a speech as well as 2 extra BONUS tips at the end.
1) Thank the Organizers and Audience
You can start by thanking the audience for coming and thanking the organization for inviting you to speak.
Refer to the person who introduced you or to one or more of the senior people in the organization in the audience.
This compliments them, makes them feel proud and happy about your presence, and connects you to the audience like an electrical plug in a socket.
2) Start With a Positive Statement
A presentation tip at the start is to tell the audience members how much they will like and enjoy what you have to say.
For example, you might say:
“You’re really going to enjoy the time we spend together this evening. I’m going to share with you some of the most important ideas that have ever been discovered in this area.”
Remember that speaking is an art, so be an artist and take complete control of your performance,
3) Compliment the Audience
You can begin by complimenting the audience members sincerely and with great respect.
Smile as if you are really glad to see them as if they are all old friends of yours that you have not seen for quite a while.
You can tell them that it is a great honor for you to be here, that they are some of the most important people in this business or industry, and that you are looking forward to sharing some key ideas with them.
You could say something like:
“It is an honor to be here with you today. You are the elite, the top 10 percent of people in this industry. Only the very best people in any field will take the time and make the sacrifice to come so far for a conference like this.”
4) Start Your Speech By Referring to Current Events
Use a current event front-page news story to transition into your subject and to illustrate or prove your point. You can bring a copy of the newspaper and hold it up as you refer to it in your introduction.
This visual image of you holding the paper and reciting or reading a key point rivets the audience’s attention and causes people to lean forward to hear what you have to say.
5) Refer to a Historical Event
For many years, I studied military history…
Especially the lives and campaigns of the great generals and the decisive battles they won. One of my favorites was Alexander the Great.
One day, I was asked to give a talk on leadership principles to a roomful of managers for a Fortune 500 company.
I decided that the campaign of Alexander the Great against Darius of Persia would make an excellent story that would illustrate the leadership qualities of one of the great commanders in history.
I opened my talk with these words:
“Once upon a time there was a young man named Alex who grew up in a poor country. But Alex was a little bit ambitious. From an early age, he decided that he wanted to conquer the entire known world. But there was a small problem. Most of the known world was under the control of a huge multinational called the Persian Empire, headed by King Darius II. To fulfill his ambition, Alex was going to have to take the market share away from the market leader, who was very determined to hold on to it.
This is the same situation that exists between you and your major competitors in the market today. You are going to have to use all your leadership skills to win the great marketing battles of the future.”
6) Refer to a Well Known Person
You can start by quoting a well-known person or publication that recently made an important statement.
One of the subjects I touch upon regularly is the importance of continual personal development.
I will say something like:
“In the twenty-first century, knowledge and know-how are the keys to success. As basketball coach Pat Riley said, ‘If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.’”
7) Refer to a Recent Conversation
Start by telling a story about a recent conversation with someone in attendance.
For instance, I might say:
“A few minutes ago, I was talking with Tom Robinson in the lobby. He told me that this is one of the very best times to be working in this industry, and I agree.”
8) Make a Shocking Statement
You can start your talk by making a shocking statement of some kind.
For example, you might say something like:
“According to a recent study, there will be more change, more competition, and more opportunities in this industry in the next year than ever before. And 72 percent of the people in this room will be doing something different within two years if they do not rapidly adapt top these changes.”
Click here If you want to learn more techniques to wow your audience.
9) Quote From Recent Research
You can start by quoting a recent research report.
One example is:
“According to a story in a recent issue of Businessweek, there were almost 11 million millionaires in America in 2018, most of them self-made.”
10) Start Your Speech By Giving Them Hope
The French philosopher Gustav Le Bon once wrote, “The only religion of mankind is, and always has been hope.”
When you speak effectively, you give people hope of some kind.
Remember, the ultimate purpose of speaking is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments.
Everything you say should relate to the actions you want people to take and the reasons that they should take those actions.
11) Be Entertaining
Bill Gove used to walk onto the stage after his introduction if he had just finished talking to someone on the side and was breaking off to give his talk to the group.
The audience got the feeling that his entire talk was one continuous conversation, devoid of meaningless filler words .
Bill would often go to the edge of the stage and then drop his voice in a conspiratorial way, open his arms, and beckon the audience members to come a little closer.
He would say, “Come here, let me tell you something,” and then he would wave them forward as though he was about to tell a secret to the entire room.
The amazing thing was that everyone in the room would lean forward to hear this “secret” that he was about to share. People would all suddenly realize what they were doing and break out in laughter. It was a wonderful device to get the audience into the palm of his hands.
12) Ask a Question
You can open by making a positive statement and then ask a question requiring a show of hands.
Try something like this:
“This is a great time to be alive and in business in America. By the way how many people here are self-employed?”
Raise your hand to indicate what you want people to do. I have used this line, and after a number of hands go up, I then say to someone who raised their hand in the front, “How many people here are really self-employed?”
Invariably, someone will say, “We all are!”
I then compliment and affirm the answer: “You’re right! We are all self-employed, from the time we take our first jobs to the day that we retire; we all work for ourselves, no matter who signs our paychecks.”
13) Open With a Problem
You can start with a problem that must be solved. If it is a problem that almost everyone has in common, you will immediately have the audience’s complete and undivided attention.
For example, you could say:
“Fully 63 percent of baby boomers are moving toward retirement without enough money put aside to provide for themselves for as long as they are going to live. We must address this problem and take action immediately to ensure that each person who retires will be able to live comfortably for the rest of his or her natural life.”
14) Make a Strong Statement, Then Ask a Question
You can start by making a strong statement and then ask a question. You then follow with an answer and ask another question. This gets people immediately involved and listening to your every word.
Here’s an example:
“Twenty percent of the people in our society make 80 percent of the money. Are you a member of the top 20 percent? If not, would you like to join the top 20 percent or even the top 10 percent? Well, in the next few minutes, I am going to give you some ideas to help you become some of the highest-paid people in our society. Would that be a good goal for our time together today?”
15) Tell a Story
You can start your talk with a story. Some of the most powerful words grab the complete attention of the audience are, “Once upon a time…”
From infancy and early childhood, people love stories of any kind. When you start off with the words, “Once upon a time…” you tell the audience that a story is coming. People immediately settle down, become quiet, and lean forward like kids around a campfire.
When I conduct full-day seminars and I want to bring people back to their seats after a break, I will say loudly, “Once upon a time there was a man, right here in this city…”
As soon as I say these words, people hurry back to their seats and begin to listen attentively to the rest of the story.
The story technique is very effective.
In fact, its probably one of the best public speaking tips I’ve learned to this day.
Bonus Tip: Tell Them About Yourself
Very often, I will start a speech to a business, sales, or entrepreneurial group by saying:
“I started off without graduating from high school. My family had no money. Everything I accomplished in life I had to do on my own with very little help from anyone else.”
It is amazing how many people come up to me after a talk that began with those words and tells me that was their experience as well.
They tell me that they could immediately identify with me because they too had started with poor grades and limited funds, as most people do. As a result, they were open to the rest of my talk, even a full-day seminar, and felt that everything I said was more valid and authentic than if I had been a person who started off with a successful background.
Building a bridge like this is very helpful in bringing the audience onto your side.
Bonus Tip: Get Them Talking to One Another
You can ask people to turn to the person next to them to discuss a particular point.
For instance, you could say:
“Tell the person next to you what you would like to learn from this seminar.”
Whatever you ask your audience members to do, within reason, they will do it for you. Your commands and your thought leadership will easily influence them, as long as you ask them with confidence.
By following any one of these tips for starting your speech, you are sure to grab your audience’s attention every time. How do you start a speech? Let me know in the comments.
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The introduction and conclusion of a speech are essential. The audience will remember the main ideas even if the middle of the speech is a mess or nerves overtake the speaker. So if nothing else, get these parts down!
The introduction gives the audience a reason to listen to the remainder of the speech. A good introduction needs to get the audience’s attention, state the topic, make the topic relatable, establish credibility, and preview the main points. Introductions should be the last part of the speech written, as they set expectations and need to match the content.
The first few sentences of a speech are designed to catch and maintain the audience’s attention. Attention getters give the audience a reason to listen to the rest of the speech. Your attention getter helps the audience understand and reflect on your topic.
- Speaker walks up to stage with notes stuck to hands with jelly.
- Did you know there is a right way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
- Rob Gronkowski once said, “Usually, about 2 hours before a game, I stuff in a nice peanut butter and jelly [sandwich] with chocolate milk.”
- A little boy walks in from a long day at school, telling his mom that he is starving. His mom is confused because she knows she sent him to school with a full lunch. As she opens his lunch box, she sees his peanut butter and jelly, with the grape jelly smeared on the side of the bag. She realizes there has to be a better way to make a PB&J.
- Bring in a clear sandwich bag with jelly seeping through the bread of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Once the audience is invested in the speech, logical orientation tells the audience how the speaker will approach and develop the topic.
- Peanut butter on both sides of the bread with jelly in the middle is the best way to make a PB&J.
- PB&Js have developed a bad reputation, because of the jelly making the bread soggy and hands sticky.
Like the logical orientation of a speech, the psychological orientation is also going to provide the audience with a map for how and why the topic is being presented.
- Most of us remember our moms – dads too – packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in our lunches. We also remember how the jelly did not just stay in the sandwich, but became a new stain on our shirts and the glue that held all the playground dirt to our hands.
- We can end this torture for future generations by making sure all parents are aware of the best way to make a PB&J.
- I have eaten numerous PB&Js myself, but my real authority on the topic comes from being a mom of two boys and the maker of many PB&Js.
Both the logical and psychological orientations give the audience a road map for the speech ahead as well as cues for what to listen to. This will help the audience transition from the introduction to the main points of the speech.
Beebe, S. A., & Beebe, S. J. (2012). A concise public speaking handbook . Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Lucas, S. (2012). The art of public speaking . New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Sprague, J. & Stuart, D. (2013). The speaker's compact handbook, 4th ed . Portland: Ringgold, Inc.
Vrooman, S. S. (2013). The zombie guide to public speaking: Why most presentations fail, and what you can do to avoid joining the horde . Place of publication not identified: CreateSpace.
Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.
9.3 Putting It Together: Steps to Complete Your Introduction
- Clearly identify why an audience should listen to a speaker.
- Discuss how you can build your credibility during a speech.
- Understand how to write a clear thesis statement.
- Design an effective preview of your speech’s content for your audience.
Erin Brown-John – puzzle – CC BY-NC 2.0.
Once you have captured your audience’s attention, it’s important to make the rest of your introduction interesting, and use it to lay out the rest of the speech. In this section, we are going to explore the five remaining parts of an effective introduction: linking to your topic, reasons to listen, stating credibility, thesis statement, and preview.
Link to Topic
After the attention-getter, the second major part of an introduction is called the link to topic. The link to topic is the shortest part of an introduction and occurs when a speaker demonstrates how an attention-getting device relates to the topic of a speech. Often the attention-getter and the link to topic are very clear. For example, if you look at the attention-getting device example under historical reference above, you’ll see that the first sentence brings up the history of the Vietnam War and then shows us how that war can help us understand the Iraq War. In this case, the attention-getter clearly flows directly to the topic. However, some attention-getters need further explanation to get to the topic of the speech. For example, both of the anecdote examples (the girl falling into the manhole while texting and the boy and the filberts) need further explanation to connect clearly to the speech topic (i.e., problems of multitasking in today’s society).
Let’s look at the first anecdote example to demonstrate how we could go from the attention-getter to the topic.
In July 2009, a high school girl named Alexa Longueira was walking along a main boulevard near her home on Staten Island, New York, typing in a message on her cell phone. Not paying attention to the world around her, she took a step and fell right into an open manhole. This anecdote illustrates the problem that many people are facing in today’s world. We are so wired into our technology that we forget to see what’s going on around us—like a big hole in front of us.
In this example, the third sentence here explains that the attention-getter was an anecdote that illustrates a real issue. The fourth sentence then introduces the actual topic of the speech.
Let’s now examine how we can make the transition from the parable or fable attention-getter to the topic:
The ancient Greek writer Aesop told a fable about a boy who put his hand into a pitcher of filberts. The boy grabbed as many of the delicious nuts as he possibly could. But when he tried to pull them out, his hand wouldn’t fit through the neck of the pitcher because he was grasping so many filberts. Instead of dropping some of them so that his hand would fit, he burst into tears and cried about his predicament. The moral of the story? “Don’t try to do too much at once.” In today’s world, many of us are us are just like the boy putting his hand into the pitcher. We are constantly trying to grab so much or do so much that it prevents us from accomplishing our goals. I would like to show you three simple techniques to manage your time so that you don’t try to pull too many filberts from your pitcher.
In this example, we added three new sentences to the attention-getter to connect it to the speech topic.
Reasons to Listen
Once you have linked an attention-getter to the topic of your speech, you need to explain to your audience why your topic is important. We call this the “why should I care?” part of your speech because it tells your audience why the topic is directly important to them. Sometimes you can include the significance of your topic in the same sentence as your link to the topic, but other times you may need to spell out in one or two sentences why your specific topic is important.
People in today’s world are very busy, and they do not like their time wasted. Nothing is worse than having to sit through a speech that has nothing to do with you. Imagine sitting through a speech about a new software package you don’t own and you will never hear of again. How would you react to the speaker? Most of us would be pretty annoyed at having had our time wasted in this way. Obviously, this particular speaker didn’t do a great job of analyzing her or his audience if the audience isn’t going to use the software package—but even when speaking on a topic that is highly relevant to the audience, speakers often totally forget to explain how and why it is important.
The next part of a speech is not so much a specific “part” as an important characteristic that needs to be pervasive throughout your introduction and your entire speech. As a speaker, you want to be seen as credible (competent, trustworthy, and caring/having goodwill). As mentioned earlier in this chapter, credibility is ultimately a perception that is made by your audience. While your audience determines whether they perceive you as competent, trustworthy, and caring/having goodwill, there are some strategies you can employ to make yourself appear more credible.
First, to make yourself appear competent, you can either clearly explain to your audience why you are competent about a given subject or demonstrate your competence by showing that you have thoroughly researched a topic by including relevant references within your introduction. The first method of demonstrating competence—saying it directly—is only effective if you are actually a competent person on a given subject. If you are an undergraduate student and you are delivering a speech about the importance of string theory in physics, unless you are a prodigy of some kind, you are probably not a recognized expert on the subject. Conversely, if your number one hobby in life is collecting memorabilia about the Three Stooges, then you may be an expert about the Three Stooges. However, you would need to explain to your audience your passion for collecting Three Stooges memorabilia and how this has made you an expert on the topic.
If, on the other hand, you are not actually a recognized expert on a topic, you need to demonstrate that you have done your homework to become more knowledgeable than your audience about your topic. The easiest way to demonstrate your competence is through the use of appropriate references from leading thinkers and researchers on your topic. When you demonstrate to your audience that you have done your homework, they are more likely to view you as competent.
The second characteristic of credibility, trustworthiness, is a little more complicated than competence, for it ultimately relies on audience perceptions. One way to increase the likelihood that a speaker will be perceived as trustworthy is to use reputable sources. If you’re quoting Dr. John Smith, you need to explain who Dr. John Smith is so your audience will see the quotation as being more trustworthy. As speakers we can easily manipulate our sources into appearing more credible than they actually are, which would be unethical. When you are honest about your sources with your audience, they will trust you and your information more so than when you are ambiguous. The worst thing you can do is to out-and-out lie about information during your speech. Not only is lying highly unethical, but if you are caught lying, your audience will deem you untrustworthy and perceive everything you are saying as untrustworthy. Many speakers have attempted to lie to an audience because it will serve their own purposes or even because they believe their message is in their audience’s best interest, but lying is one of the fastest ways to turn off an audience and get them to distrust both the speaker and the message.
The third characteristic of credibility to establish during the introduction is the sense of caring/goodwill. While some unethical speakers can attempt to manipulate an audience’s perception that the speaker cares, ethical speakers truly do care about their audiences and have their audience’s best interests in mind while speaking. Often speakers must speak in front of audiences that may be hostile toward the speaker’s message. In these cases, it is very important for the speaker to explain that he or she really does believe her or his message is in the audience’s best interest. One way to show that you have your audience’s best interests in mind is to acknowledge disagreement from the start:
Today I’m going to talk about why I believe we should enforce stricter immigration laws in the United States. I realize that many of you will disagree with me on this topic. I used to believe that open immigration was a necessity for the United States to survive and thrive, but after researching this topic, I’ve changed my mind. While I may not change all of your minds today, I do ask that you listen with an open mind, set your personal feelings on this topic aside, and judge my arguments on their merits.
While clearly not all audience members will be open or receptive to opening their minds and listening to your arguments, by establishing that there is known disagreement, you are telling the audience that you understand their possible views and are not trying to attack their intellect or their opinions.
A thesis statement is a short, declarative sentence that states the purpose, intent, or main idea of a speech. A strong, clear thesis statement is very valuable within an introduction because it lays out the basic goal of the entire speech. We strongly believe that it is worthwhile to invest some time in framing and writing a good thesis statement. You may even want to write your thesis statement before you even begin conducting research for your speech. While you may end up rewriting your thesis statement later, having a clear idea of your purpose, intent, or main idea before you start searching for research will help you focus on the most appropriate material. To help us understand thesis statements, we will first explore their basic functions and then discuss how to write a thesis statement.
Basic Functions of a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement helps your audience by letting them know “in a nutshell” what you are going to talk about. With a good thesis statement you will fulfill four basic functions: you express your specific purpose, provide a way to organize your main points, make your research more effective, and enhance your delivery.
Express Your Specific Purpose
To orient your audience, you need to be as clear as possible about your meaning. A strong thesis will prepare your audience effectively for the points that will follow. Here are two examples:
- “Today, I want to discuss academic cheating.” (weak example)
- “Today, I will clarify exactly what plagiarism is and give examples of its different types so that you can see how it leads to a loss of creative learning interaction.” (strong example)
The weak statement will probably give the impression that you have no clear position about your topic because you haven’t said what that position is. Additionally, the term “academic cheating” can refer to many behaviors—acquiring test questions ahead of time, copying answers, changing grades, or allowing others to do your coursework—so the specific topic of the speech is still not clear to the audience.
The strong statement not only specifies plagiarism but also states your specific concern (loss of creative learning interaction).
Provide a Way to Organize Your Main Points
A thesis statement should appear, almost verbatim, toward the end of the introduction to a speech. A thesis statement helps the audience get ready to listen to the arrangement of points that follow. Many speakers say that if they can create a strong thesis sentence, the rest of the speech tends to develop with relative ease. On the other hand, when the thesis statement is not very clear, creating a speech is an uphill battle.
When your thesis statement is sufficiently clear and decisive, you will know where you stand about your topic and where you intend to go with your speech. Having a clear thesis statement is especially important if you know a great deal about your topic or you have strong feelings about it. If this is the case for you, you need to know exactly what you are planning on talking about in order to fit within specified time limitations. Knowing where you are and where you are going is the entire point in establishing a thesis statement; it makes your speech much easier to prepare and to present.
Let’s say you have a fairly strong thesis statement, and that you’ve already brainstormed a list of information that you know about the topic. Chances are your list is too long and has no focus. Using your thesis statement, you can select only the information that (1) is directly related to the thesis and (2) can be arranged in a sequence that will make sense to the audience and will support the thesis. In essence, a strong thesis statement helps you keep useful information and weed out less useful information.
Make Your Research More Effective
If you begin your research with only a general topic in mind, you run the risk of spending hours reading mountains of excellent literature about your topic. However, mountains of literature do not always make coherent speeches. You may have little or no idea of how to tie your research all together, or even whether you should tie it together. If, on the other hand, you conduct your research with a clear thesis statement in mind, you will be better able to zero in only on material that directly relates to your chosen thesis statement. Let’s look at an example that illustrates this point:
Many traffic accidents involve drivers older than fifty-five.
While this statement may be true, you could find industrial, medical, insurance literature that can drone on ad infinitum about the details of all such accidents in just one year. Instead, focusing your thesis statement will help you narrow the scope of information you will be searching for while gathering information. Here’s an example of a more focused thesis statement:
Three factors contribute to most accidents involving drivers over fifty-five years of age: failing eyesight, slower reflexes, and rapidly changing traffic conditions.
This framing is somewhat better. This thesis statement at least provides three possible main points and some keywords for your electronic catalog search. However, if you want your audience to understand the context of older people at the wheel, consider something like:
Mature drivers over fifty-five years of age must cope with more challenging driving conditions than existed only one generation ago: more traffic moving at higher speeds, the increased imperative for quick driving decisions, and rapidly changing ramp and cloverleaf systems. Because of these challenges, I want my audience to believe that drivers over the age of sixty-five should be required to pass a driving test every five years.
This framing of the thesis provides some interesting choices. First, several terms need to be defined, and these definitions might function surprisingly well in setting the tone of the speech. Your definitions of words like “generation,” “quick driving decisions,” and “cloverleaf systems” could jolt your audience out of assumptions they have taken for granted as truth.
Second, the framing of the thesis provides you with a way to describe the specific changes as they have occurred between, say, 1970 and 2010. How much, and in what ways, have the volume and speed of traffic changed? Why are quick decisions more critical now? What is a “cloverleaf,” and how does any driver deal cognitively with exiting in the direction seemingly opposite to the desired one? Questions like this, suggested by your own thesis statement, can lead to a strong, memorable speech.
Enhance Your Delivery
When your thesis is not clear to you, your listeners will be even more clueless than you are—but if you have a good clear thesis statement, your speech becomes clear to your listeners. When you stand in front of your audience presenting your introduction, you can vocally emphasize the essence of your speech, expressed as your thesis statement. Many speakers pause for a half second, lower their vocal pitch slightly, slow down a little, and deliberately present the thesis statement, the one sentence that encapsulates its purpose. When this is done effectively, the purpose, intent, or main idea of a speech is driven home for an audience.
How to Write a Thesis Statement
Now that we’ve looked at why a thesis statement is crucial in a speech, let’s switch gears and talk about how we go about writing a solid thesis statement. A thesis statement is related to the general and specific purposes of a speech as we discussed them in Chapter 6 “Finding a Purpose and Selecting a Topic” .
Choose Your Topic
The first step in writing a good thesis statement was originally discussed in Chapter 6 “Finding a Purpose and Selecting a Topic” when we discussed how to find topics. Once you have a general topic, you are ready to go to the second step of creating a thesis statement.
Narrow Your Topic
One of the hardest parts of writing a thesis statement is narrowing a speech from a broad topic to one that can be easily covered during a five- to ten-minute speech. While five to ten minutes may sound like a long time to new public speakers, the time flies by very quickly when you are speaking. You can easily run out of time if your topic is too broad. To ascertain if your topic is narrow enough for a specific time frame, ask yourself three questions.
First, is your thesis statement narrow or is it a broad overgeneralization of a topic? An overgeneralization occurs when we classify everyone in a specific group as having a specific characteristic. For example, a speaker’s thesis statement that “all members of the National Council of La Raza are militant” is an overgeneralization of all members of the organization. Furthermore, a speaker would have to correctly demonstrate that all members of the organization are militant for the thesis statement to be proven, which is a very difficult task since the National Council of La Raza consists of millions of Hispanic Americans. A more appropriate thesis related to this topic could be, “Since the creation of the National Council of La Raza [NCLR] in 1968, the NCLR has become increasingly militant in addressing the causes of Hispanics in the United States.”
The second question to ask yourself when narrowing a topic is whether your speech’s topic is one clear topic or multiple topics. A strong thesis statement consists of only a single topic. The following is an example of a thesis statement that contains too many topics: “Medical marijuana, prostitution, and gay marriage should all be legalized in the United States.” Not only are all three fairly broad, but you also have three completely unrelated topics thrown into a single thesis statement. Instead of a thesis statement that has multiple topics, limit yourself to only one topic. Here’s an example of a thesis statement examining only one topic: “Today we’re going to examine the legalization and regulation of the oldest profession in the state of Nevada.” In this case, we’re focusing our topic to how one state has handled the legalization and regulation of prostitution.
The last question a speaker should ask when making sure a topic is sufficiently narrow is whether the topic has direction. If your basic topic is too broad, you will never have a solid thesis statement or a coherent speech. For example, if you start off with the topic “Barack Obama is a role model for everyone,” what do you mean by this statement? Do you think President Obama is a role model because of his dedication to civic service? Do you think he’s a role model because he’s a good basketball player? Do you think he’s a good role model because he’s an excellent public speaker? When your topic is too broad, almost anything can become part of the topic. This ultimately leads to a lack of direction and coherence within the speech itself. To make a cleaner topic, a speaker needs to narrow her or his topic to one specific area. For example, you may want to examine why President Obama is a good speaker.
Put Your Topic into a Sentence
Once you’ve narrowed your topic to something that is reasonably manageable given the constraints placed on your speech, you can then formalize that topic as a complete sentence. For example, you could turn the topic of President Obama’s public speaking skills into the following sentence: “Because of his unique sense of lyricism and his well-developed presentational skills, President Barack Obama is a modern symbol of the power of public speaking.” Once you have a clear topic sentence, you can start tweaking the thesis statement to help set up the purpose of your speech.
Add Your Argument, Viewpoint, or Opinion
This function only applies if you are giving a speech to persuade. If your topic is informative, your job is to make sure that the thesis statement is nonargumentative and focuses on facts. For example, in the preceding thesis statement we have a couple of opinion-oriented terms that should be avoided for informative speeches: “unique sense,” “well-developed,” and “power.” All three of these terms are laced with an individual’s opinion, which is fine for a persuasive speech but not for an informative speech. For informative speeches, the goal of a thesis statement is to explain what the speech will be informing the audience about, not attempting to add the speaker’s opinion about the speech’s topic. For an informative speech, you could rewrite the thesis statement to read, “This speech is going to analyze Barack Obama’s use of lyricism in his speech, ‘A World That Stands as One,’ delivered July 2008 in Berlin.”
On the other hand, if your topic is persuasive, you want to make sure that your argument, viewpoint, or opinion is clearly indicated within the thesis statement. If you are going to argue that Barack Obama is a great speaker, then you should set up this argument within your thesis statement.
Use the Thesis Checklist
Once you have written a first draft of your thesis statement, you’re probably going to end up revising your thesis statement a number of times prior to delivering your actual speech. A thesis statement is something that is constantly tweaked until the speech is given. As your speech develops, often your thesis will need to be rewritten to whatever direction the speech itself has taken. We often start with a speech going in one direction, and find out through our research that we should have gone in a different direction. When you think you finally have a thesis statement that is good to go for your speech, take a second and make sure it adheres to the criteria shown in Table 9.1 “Thesis Checklist”
Table 9.1 Thesis Checklist
Preview of Speech
The final part of an introduction contains a preview of the major points to be covered within your speech. I’m sure we’ve all seen signs that have three cities listed on them with the mileage to reach each city. This mileage sign is an indication of what is to come. A preview works the same way. A preview foreshadows what the main body points will be in the speech. For example, to preview a speech on bullying in the workplace, one could say, “To understand the nature of bullying in the modern workplace, I will first define what workplace bullying is and the types of bullying, I will then discuss the common characteristics of both workplace bullies and their targets, and lastly, I will explore some possible solutions to workplace bullying.” In this case, each of the phrases mentioned in the preview would be a single distinct point made in the speech itself. In other words, the first major body point in this speech would examine what workplace bullying is and the types of bullying; the second major body point in this speech would discuss the common characteristics of both workplace bullies and their targets; and lastly, the third body point in this speech would explore some possible solutions to workplace bullying.
- Linking the attention-getter to the speech topic is essential so that you maintain audience attention and so that the relevance of the attention-getter is clear to your audience.
- Establishing how your speech topic is relevant and important shows the audience why they should listen to your speech.
- To be an effective speaker, you should convey all three components of credibility, competence, trustworthiness, and caring/goodwill, by the content and delivery of your introduction.
- A clear thesis statement is essential to provide structure for a speaker and clarity for an audience.
- An effective preview identifies the specific main points that will be present in the speech body.
- Make a list of the attention-getting devices you might use to give a speech on the importance of recycling. Which do you think would be most effective? Why?
- Create a thesis statement for a speech related to the topic of collegiate athletics. Make sure that your thesis statement is narrow enough to be adequately covered in a five- to six-minute speech.
- Discuss with a partner three possible body points you could utilize for the speech on the topic of volunteerism.
- Fill out the introduction worksheet to help work through your introduction for your next speech. Please make sure that you answer all the questions clearly and concisely.
Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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COMM 101: Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Valparaiso
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A basic speech outline should include three main sections:
- The Introduction -- This is where you tell them what you're going to tell them.
- The Body -- This is where you tell them.
- The Conclusion -- This is where you tell them what you've told them.
- Speech Outline Formatting Guide The outline for a public speech, according to COMM 101 online textbook The Public Speaking Project , p.p. 8-9.
Use these samples to help prepare your speech outlines and bibliographies:
- Sample Speech Preparation Outline This type of outline is very detailed with all the main points and subpoints written in complete sentences. Your bibliography should be included with this outline.
- Sample Speech Speaking Outline This type of outline is very brief and uses phrases or key words for the main points and subpoints. This outline is used by the speaker during the speech.
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4 Ways of Making the Best Introduction Speech
I like building and growing simple yet powerful products for the world and the worldwide web.
Published Date : December 17, 2020
Reading Time :
First impressions influence how others perceive you. An impactful and best introduction speech about yourself will significantly affect a crowd’s first impressions if delivered succinctly and tactfully.
It is splendid to deliver your speech to the audience. However, the actual speech delivery can be challenging as many individuals struggle with nervousness and forgetfulness that can affect speech delivery. Also, planning and composing a self-introduction speech can be a nerve-wracking and tedious process.
How do we overcome the jitters, prepare, compose, and deliver the most impactful introduction speech to our intended audience?
Let me share the fail-proof ways of planning, creating, and delivering compelling and remarkable introduction speech ideas.
Pro tip: Before giving any speech make sure that you practice your speech at least three times. You can use Orai to practice in private and get feedback on your speech .
What is Introduction Speech ?
This speech is the primary means of introducing oneself to an intended crowd. The crowd can be your colleagues, employers, groupmates, business partners, or only people you will like to influence your thoughts and beliefs. It should be concise enough to introduce your goals, interests, or ideas in a short time.
Importance of Speech of Introduction
A speech of introduction presents a brief background of yourself to the crowd regarding goals, interests, strengths, beliefs, and achievements. It is concise enough to introduce, break the ice, and imprint oneself on the public.
Introduction speech can be a forerunner of other prominent addresses, an introduction for a guest speaker, or just a speech that elicits acquaintance and influence.
Four Characteristics of a Good Self-introduction Speech
Leaving lasting first impressions is as important as giving your introductory speech . Good speech of self-introduction must have the following qualities:
Details about your personal life and success should be presented as accurately and factual as possible regarding names, dates, and events. There should be no bluffs included, and events should be chronologically correct as it reflects your credibility and honesty.
A good introduction speech example should be concise in delivering your goals, interests, and intended influence on the crowd but not too dragging to create impatience. The longer you talk, the higher chances of the audience getting disinterested in your intentions, leading to impatience and disengagement.
It is essential to give a catchy, concise, and factual introduction to promote and sustain audience engagement.
Adaptable to the Audience and Occasion
A speech of self-introduction should convey information that is relevant and adaptable to the intended audience and occasion. You can jot down notes about the audience’s preferences and type of event and accustom your speech accordingly. Nothing is more impactful than an introduction speech that significantly appeals to audience interest and occasion-specific.
You can create a steady build of anticipation for your speech by adding inspirational words, quotations, or compelling words. In this manner, your audience will sustain their engagement with your address and initiate interaction.
Let us go to the most tedious task of creating an introduction speech .
Steps in Creating an Introduction Speech
The step-by-step process of crafting your speech of introduction includes:
- Practice and editing
- Planning; and
- Actual delivery of a speech .
Preparing for your speech involves creating a speech outline, presenting hobbies and interests, self-selling, and standing out.
The following sentences are part of an introduction speech example based on the steps of speech preparation:
“Good Morning! My name is John Dewey, and I am a computer programming student at Berkeley University.’’ [straightforward introduction]
“I am developing an app that allows people to order pizza through their Twitter accounts. This innovation is the latest app that I designed.” [interest and career plans]
“My second app won a University award for its contribution to helping people locate nearby dog parks.” [relevant work background]
“Because of my extensive knowledge in app writing and wide professional connections, I know what is useful and helpful to youth nowadays. My apps provide convenience and immediate assistance.” [self-selling]
“I allot lots of time attending app conventions to know the preferences of my audience and always to develop top-cut app designs.” [stand out]
Practice and Editing
The second major step in speech creation is practicing and editing your speech . You can trim down your speech , use short sentences, rehearse, and memorize your address accordingly.
An introduction speech example showing the use of simple sentences is presented below:
“I used to stay at the off-campus dorm with my best friend. It is in this dorm that I began assembling and disassembling cellphones and laptops.”
Planning your speech ahead of time involves determining your target audience, relevant points, and speech purpose and tone.
Actual Delivery of the Speech
Lastly, essential considerations before delivering your actual speech include relaxation, acceptable body language , avoidance of rush, and use of humor in case of a mistake.
How Do You Start a Speech of Introduction?
Finally, after spending hours outlining, editing, and rehearsing your speech of introduction, you are about to deliver the speech to the actual target audience.
The start of an introduction speech is crucial as it captures the audience’s attention and determines the length of interest and engagement of your audience towards your speech . If your crowd felt bored at the start of the speech , there is a small chance of conveying your audience’s influence and message.
Let us take on the different ways of starting a speech of introduction and actively engross your target crowd.
1. Current Events Reference
Starting your speech with a current, relevant news event is an effective way to grab attention, as it shows the relevance of the topic in today’s world. You can use news or the latest trends related to your intended speech purpose and target audience.
An excellent introduction speech example may start with “Good afternoon. America hits 1,000,000 cases of Covid-19 for July 2020.”
2. Use of Quotations
Initiating an introduction speech with a pertinent quote sets the tone for the rest of the speech . You can start a speech of introduction with a quote from Bill Gates, “Life is not fair, get used to it.”
3. The ‘What If’ Scenario
The power of engagement lies in the speaker’s ability to immediately draw his/her crowd’s attention to the speech . Asking a ‘what if’ scenario entices the public to follow the flow of your thoughts.
“What if we are the sole human inhabitants of this galaxy? What would happen if our races become extinct?”
4. Use of the Word ‘Imagine’
This technique applies the guided imagery by attracting your audience toward visualizing a mental image of an extraordinary situation. It aims to engage all the audience’s senses to maximize impact and encourage them to think positively.
“Imagine being stranded on a deserted island with no one beside you. What would be the first thing that you would do?”
A well-rehearsed short story or anecdote draws the audience’s attention and elicits emotional involvement and inspiration during a speech . People would remember personal stories easier than formal public speeches.
Start with a touching story from someone or your life story, and watch how this story paints an immediate visual appeal relatable to your audience.
“When I was young, we had a large dog that protected me from harm…”
6. Begin with a Shock
Have your audience hanging on their seats during your speech by delivering powerful, compelling, or startling statements followed by a brief silence. You will have them engaged with your speech while wondering what you will say next.
“We cannot lose. We can’t lose…”
7. Ask Questions
Presenting a literal or figurative question to your audience at the opening of your speech elicits an intuitive answer, whether a response is needed or not. It allows the audience to feel included in your thoughts and build some sense of rapport.
“Who would not want to be perpetually rich from his perseverance?”
8. Play with Humor
Humor is an effective way of gaining an audience’s interest. You can crack a few jokes to start your speech , but always make it appropriate and relatable to your target audience and occasion.
You can use a compelling, personalized statistic that will incite an emotional plea and convey your message directly across the audience. It can also be an astonishing factual statistic that provides a solution to the audience’s problems and relevant to your chosen topic.
“It is amazing to think that 70% of the world population recovered from Covid-19…”
How Do You End an Introduction Speech ?
As compelling as you sound when you start your speech and proceed with the body, you are in a great challenge to end your speech as confidently and impactful as possible.
The following are unique finishes for your formal speech of introduction while confidently leaving a call to action or a gentle emotional tug. You can even create your signature close for your introduction speech .
You can use the title of your speech (if there are any) as your final remarks. Final words linger, cements your message, and moves your audience.
You can bounce back to your opening quote or story, reiterate, and summarize the main points of your speech .
“We have arrived at the end where we have started…”
You can leave an impressive call or challenge for change, action, or participation from your audience. This challenge will motivate your audience to initiate actions based on what they heard from your speech .
“Let us not rise to get up but rise once we have fallen…”
Cite a famous quotation to create a lasting impression for your speech , as well as initiating its closure.
“With your help, we can think anew, and act anew on the new issues before us today.” – quote from President Abraham Lincoln
Use a phrase and build it repetitively and cumulatively, similar to an increasing drum roll. This repetitive finish will increase the impact of your speech to the audience.
“A duty, do it. An opportunity, grab it. A journey, enjoy it. A goal, attain it…”
Deliver and restate a specific phrase a few times within your speech . Ask your audience to repeat back the phrase on cue. This singsong finish leaves a remarkable ending to your speech .
You can extend kind gestures by giving blessings at the end of your speech .
“Godspeed and take care on your journey…”
Use a congratulatory remark as the final part of your speech . This congratulatory finish motivates the audience toward change or action.
“I salute all the individuals on their selfless plight…”
Lastly, you can show some gestures or point to a prop to signal the closure of your speech .
For example, you can imitate the closure of a book with your hands and say, “Now concludes the final chapter…”
Sample Self-Introduction Speech Outline
Here is an example of an introductory speech outline that will serve as a guide for your creation of self-introductory speech :
- Grab their interest
- Provide background information
- Create your item of discussion using minimal sentences
- Cite examples
- Offer an impressive answer to your self-introduction speech .
Here are the links for more sample introductory speech outlines:
Sample Self-introduction Speech Topics
The following are self-introduction topics that you can use for your speech :
- What sets you apart from other individuals?
- What’s your main goal in life?
- What incident plays a large part in your life? Tell the incident and message.
- What are your unique skills?
- What are your essential milestones in your life?
An introduction speech is an essential means of delivering your purpose and influence to your target crowd. It can either build or break your credibility or provide a compelling impression on your audience.
You can start by preparing, practicing, editing, and planning for your impactful speech . Once the speech is deliberately created, you can now deliver, initiate, and end your speech of introduction through the various tips mentioned.
Your speech can obtain long-lasting first impressions by delivering a remarkable and powerful self-introduction speech with a bang and ending it with a call for action or change.
Shake away your jitters. You can also download the Orai app to conceptualize, deliberate, and deliver your most promising and compelling introduction speech ! Start your free trial today, available on the app store.
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Introduction speech for a guest speaker
How to write a good introduction speech step by step
By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 09-18-2022
If you've been asked to give the introduction speech for a guest speaker you're in the right place.
Everything you need to prepare it is here. Follow the steps and you'll have an introductory speech you'll be proud to deliver.
What you'll find on this page:
- an overview of the purpose of an introduction speech for a guest speaker
- the content you're expected to cover
- an organizational pattern or template to follow
- an example introduction speech
- 6 important tips to use to ensure your speech is a success
The function of an introduction speech
Let's start with the purpose of the speech. When you understand what the speech is supposed to achieve you'll find it much easier to write.
The job of an introduction speech is to:
- introduce your guest speaker,
- give them a warm welcome,
- and create ready-and-motivated-to-listen anticipation in the audience.
Essentially you are the warm-up act. Your task is to focus and unite the audience members, to get them ready for what is to come.
Return to Top
To prepare your introduction speech you'll need:
- the guest speaker's name and, if they have one, their title. For example; Judge, Sir, The Right Honorable... Do make sure you can say their name properly and easily! If you're in doubt get the correct pronunciation from your guest speaker and practice. Also ask if they have personal pronoun preferences. Eg: they/them, she/her, he/him...
- the guest speaker's biography or the credentials of the speaker Sometimes you'll be given what the guest speaker wants said about themselves. If that isn't provided select events, achievements and qualifications to support establishing him/her as an authority within the context of the occasion. And do check that your guest is happy with what you are preparing to say about them.
- attention getters or a surprise to delight the audience, something that is not commonly known, and something revealing the personality or humanity of the person.
How to organize your material
- Build excitement or interest by adding one piece of information after another.
- Make the speaker's name and their speech title, the climax and end of your speech.
To show you how it's done I've put together an...
Introduction speech example
Let's put the speech in context to help you make sense of it.
The setting for this fictitious introduction speech is a conference for an organization called " Women in Leadership" . The audience are primarily women drawn together through an interest in leadership roles.
At the end of the speech, the speaker will lead the clapping as Rose Stephenson, the keynote speaker being introduced, takes center stage.
Now here's the introduction speech text.
Now here's the introduction speech text
" She's been a stalwart member of "Women in Leadership" for the last ten years. Over that time she's served in every office: secretary, treasurer, chairperson, chief fundraiser, education officer... to name just a few, and in some roles several times over.
Her passionate dedication to promoting public speaking as an important component of empowerment is inspiring. We estimate that she has personally mentored at least 100 new speakers and has set an extraordinary "yes, you can" example for many more. We see her as capable, confident and fluent: never at a loss for words. But what you probably don't know is that this women once stuttered, stammered and blushed.
Yes, she was often temporarily paralyzed, struck dumb by the mere thought of standing in front of an audience to speak.
How she got from awkward tongue tied silence to becoming an eloquent front line spokesperson is the story she will share with us tonight.
Ladies, without further ado, it's with great pleasure, I give you... Rose Stephenson on "Speaking To Lead!"
Say the speech out loud! Use it as a template!
Try saying it out loud to get the flow of it.
If you like it, use it as a model for the introduction speech you need to write.
6 tips to make your introduction speech successful
1. consider tone and language use.
Is what you've prepared appropriate for the occasion, audience and your guest speaker? Have you avoided using a string of clichés?
2. Check the length of your speech
Pertinent and pithy: a short speech is what you want. One to two minutes should be enough.
Test it out loud with a timer and trim if necessary.
My example speech is 171 words long. That will take approximately 1 minute 30 seconds to say depending on the speaker's rate of speech.
For more on: the number of words per minute in a speech . (This page has estimations for the number of words per minute spoken at a slow, medium and fast rate for speeches from 1 - 10 minutes long.)
3. Resist exaggerating or "puffing up" the speaker's achievements
First impressions count. You don't want to talk about your guest in a way that may embarrass and cause the audience to question their right to be there.
4. Always check your facts
Beware the horror of getting your facts muddled and, if you wish to mention something that may be sensitive, ask permission before you announce it in front of an audience.
5. Remember you are not the main speaker, or the star of the show
You've done a good job when you cover just enough to make the coming speech eagerly anticipated.
Please do not stray into telling the audience what the guest speaker's speech will cover in detail. That's terribly unfair on the speaker!
6. Rehearse your speech
Practice out loud until you are confidently fluent and able to convey the pleasure or enthusiasm the audience needs to get them in the right frame of mind.
For more: how to rehearse a speech well
For more: how to use your voice expressively
Other related pages you may find useful:
- How to give a self-introduction speech (with an example of a brief speech to introduce yourself to fellow workshop participants)
- How to write a welcome speech (with an example of a short welcome speech to open an event)
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Informative Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples
What is an informative speech?
An informative speech uses descriptions, demonstrations, and strong detail to explain a person, place, or subject. An informative speech makes a complex topic easier to understand and focuses on delivering information, rather than providing a persuasive argument.
Types of informative speeches
The most common types of informative speeches are definition, explanation, description, and demonstration.
A definition speech explains a concept, theory, or philosophy about which the audience knows little. The purpose of the speech is to inform the audience so they understand the main aspects of the subject matter.
An explanatory speech presents information on the state of a given topic. The purpose is to provide a specific viewpoint on the chosen subject. Speakers typically incorporate a visual of data and/or statistics.
The speaker of a descriptive speech provides audiences with a detailed and vivid description of an activity, person, place, or object using elaborate imagery to make the subject matter memorable.
A demonstrative speech explains how to perform a particular task or carry out a process. These speeches often demonstrate the following:
How to do something
How to make something
How to fix something
How something works
How to write an informative speech
Regardless of the type, every informative speech should include an introduction, a hook, background information, a thesis, the main points, and a conclusion.
An attention grabber or hook draws in the audience and sets the tone for the speech. The technique the speaker uses should reflect the subject matter in some way (i.e., if the topic is serious in nature, do not open with a joke). Therefore, when choosing an attention grabber, consider the following:
What’s the topic of the speech?
What’s the occasion?
Who’s the audience?
What’s the purpose of the speech?
Common Attention Grabbers (Hooks)
Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way (e.g., a poll question where they can simply raise their hands) or ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic in a certain way yet requires no response.
Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.
Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, which is typically done using data or statistics. The statement should surprise the audience in some way.
Provide a brief anecdote that relates to the topic in some way.
Present a “what if” scenario that connects to the subject matter of the speech.
Identify the importance of the speech’s topic.
Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.
Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.
The thesis statement shares the central purpose of the speech.
Preview the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose. Typically, informational speeches will have an average of three main ideas.
Apply the following to each main idea (body) :
Identify the main idea ( NOTE: The main points of a demonstration speech would be the individual steps.)
Provide evidence to support the main idea
Explain how the evidence supports the main idea/central purpose
Transition to the next main idea
Review or restate the thesis and the main points presented throughout the speech.
Much like the attention grabber, the closing statement should interest the audience. Some of the more common techniques include a challenge, a rhetorical question, or restating relevant information:
Provide the audience with a challenge or call to action to apply the presented information to real life.
Detail the benefit of the information.
Close with an anecdote or brief story that illustrates the main points.
Leave the audience with a rhetorical question to ponder after the speech has concluded.
Detail the relevance of the presented information.
Before speech writing, brainstorm a list of informative speech topic ideas. The right topic depends on the type of speech, but good topics can range from video games to disabilities and electric cars to healthcare and mental health.
Informative speech topics
Some common informative essay topics for each type of informational speech include the following:
Informative speech examples
The following list identifies famous informational speeches:
“Duties of American Citizenship” by Theodore Roosevelt
“Duty, Honor, Country” by General Douglas MacArthur
“Strength and Dignity” by Theodore Roosevelt
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” by Patrick Henry
“The Decision to Go to the Moon” by John F. Kennedy
“We Shall Fight on the Beaches” by Winston Churchill
“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Pearl Harbor Address” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Luckiest Man” by Lou Gehrig
The Way to Cook with Julia Child
This Old House with Bob Vila
Bill Nye the Science Guy with Bill Nye
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How to Write an Introduction for a Persuasive Speech
Last Updated: October 2, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Gale McCreary and by wikiHow staff writer, Kyle Hall . Gale McCreary is the Founder and Chief Coordinator of SpeechStory, a nonprofit organization focused on improving communication skills in youth. She was previously a Silicon Valley CEO and President of a Toastmasters International chapter. She has been recognized as Santa Barbara Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year and received Congressional recognition for providing a Family-Friendly work environment. She has a BS in Biology from Stanford University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 142,778 times.
A persuasive speech is meant to convince an audience to agree with your point of view or argument relating to a specific topic. While the body of your persuasive speech is where the bulk of your argument will go, it’s important that you don’t overlook the introduction. A good introduction will capture your audience’s attention, which is crucial if you want to persuade them. Fortunately, there are some simple rules you can follow that will make the introduction to your persuasive essay more engaging and memorable.
Organizing Your Introduction
- For example, if your speech is about sleep deprivation in the workplace, you could start with something like “Workplace accidents and mistakes related to sleep deprivation cost companies $31 billion every single year.”
- Or, if your speech is about animal rights, you could open with a quote like “The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham once said, ‘The question is not, Can they reason? Nor, Can they talk? But, Can they suffer?’”
- For a speech about unpaid internships, you could start with a relevant anecdote like “In 2018, Tiffany Green got her dream internship, unpaid, working for a rental company. Unfortunately, a few months later Tiffany returned home from work to find an eviction notice on the door of her apartment, owned by that same rental company, because she was unable to pay her rent.
- For example, your thesis statement could look something like “Today, I’m going to talk to you about why medical marijuana should be legalized in all 50 states, and I’ll explain why that would improve the lives of average Americans and boost the economy.”
- For example, if you’re a marine biologist who’s writing a persuasive speech about ocean acidification, you could write something like “I’ve studied the effects of ocean acidification on local marine ecosystems for over a decade now, and what I’ve found is staggering.”
- Or, if you’re not an expert on your topic, you could include something like “Earlier this year, renowned marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson published a decade-long study on the acidification of our oceans, and what she found is deeply concerning.”
- For example, you could sum up your conclusion by writing something like, “To show you that a shorter work week would benefit not only employees but also their employers, first I will touch on the history of the modern average work week. Then, I’ll discuss the mental and physical toll that a long work week can take on a person. Finally, I’ll wrap up by going over fairer, better systems that we as a society could implement.”
- For example, if you time yourself giving your speech (introduction included) and it takes you 5 minutes, your introduction should only take up about 45 seconds of your speech.
- However, if you were giving a speech that’s 20 minutes long, your introduction should be around 3 minutes.
- On average, you’ll want about 150 words for every 1 minute you need to speak for. For example, if your introduction should be 2 minutes, you’d want to write around 300 words.
Tip: If you know how long your speech is going to be before you write it, make the first draft of your introduction the right length so you don’t have to add or delete a lot later.
Polishing Your Writing
- To make your writing more conversational, try to use brief sentences, and avoid including jargon unless you need it to make your point.
- Using contractions, like “I’ll” instead of “I will,” “wouldn’t” instead of “would not,” and “they’re” instead of “they are,” can help make your writing sound more conversational.
Tip: An easy way to make your writing more concise is to start your sentences with the subject. Also, try to limit the number of adverbs and adjectives you use.
- For example, if your audience will be made up of the other students in your college class, including a pop culture reference in your introduction might be an effective way to grab their attention and help them relate to your topic. However, if you’re giving your speech in a more formal setting, a pop culture reference might fall flat.
- For example, you could write something like, “I know a lot of you may strongly disagree with me on this. However, I think if you give me a chance and hear me out, we might end up finding some common ground.”
- Or, you could include a question like “How many of you here tonight have ever come across plastic that's washed up on the beach?” Then, you can have audience members raise their hands.
- You can even record yourself reading your introduction to get a sense of how you'll look delivering the opening of your speech.
Example Introduction for a Persuasive Speech
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/11-2-persuasive-speaking/
- ↑ https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/public-speaking-practice-and-ethics/s12-introductions-matter-how-to-be.html
- ↑ https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/ace/downloads/tipsheets/persvsargu.pdf
- ↑ https://www.speechanddebate.org/wp-content/uploads/Tips-for-Writing-a-Persuasive-Speech.pdf
- ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/publicspeaking/chapter/14-1-four-methods-of-delivery/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
- ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/speechlab/connecting-with-the-audience-26.htm
- ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/speechlab/practicing-presentations-33.htm
About This Article
To write an introduction for a persuasive speech, start with a hook that will grab your audience's attention, like a surprising statistic or meaningful quote. Then, introduce your thesis statement, which should explain what you are arguing for and why. From here, you'll need to demonstrate the credibility of your argument if you want your audience to believe what you're saying. Depending on if you are an expert or not, you should either share your personal credentials or reference papers and studies by experts in the field that legitimize your argument. Finally, conclude with a brief preview of the main points you'll cover in your speech, so your audience knows what to expect and can follow along more easily. For more tips from our co-author, including how to polish your introduction, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines (And How to Create Your Own)
- Public Speaking , Speech Writing
Powerful speech opening lines set the tone and mood of your speech. It’s what grips the audience to want to know more about the rest of your talk.
The first few seconds are critical. It’s when you have maximum attention of the audience. And you must capitalize on that!
Instead of starting off with something plain and obvious such as a ‘Thank you’ or ‘Good Morning’, there’s so much more you can do for a powerful speech opening (here’s a great article we wrote a while ago on how you should NOT start your speech ).
To help you with this, I’ve compiled some of my favourite openings from various speakers. These speakers have gone on to deliver TED talks , win international Toastmaster competitions or are just noteworthy people who have mastered the art of communication.
After each speaker’s opening line, I have added how you can include their style of opening into your own speech. Understanding how these great speakers do it will certainly give you an idea to create your own speech opening line which will grip the audience from the outset!
Alright! Let’s dive into the 15 powerful speech openings…
Note: Want to take your communications skills to the next level? Book a complimentary consultation with one of our expert communication coaches. We’ll look under the hood of your hurdles and pick two to three growth opportunities so you can speak with impact!
1. Ric Elias
Opening: “Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D.”
How to use the power of imagination to open your speech?
Putting your audience in a state of imagination can work extremely well to captivate them for the remainder of your talk.
It really helps to bring your audience in a certain mood that preps them for what’s about to come next. Speakers have used this with high effectiveness by transporting their audience into an imaginary land to help prove their point.
When Ric Elias opened his speech, the detail he used (3000 ft, sound of the engine going clack-clack-clack) made me feel that I too was in the plane. He was trying to make the audience experience what he was feeling – and, at least in my opinion, he did.
When using the imagination opening for speeches, the key is – detail. While we want the audience to wander into imagination, we want them to wander off to the image that we want to create for them. So, detail out your scenario if you’re going to use this technique.
Make your audience feel like they too are in the same circumstance as you were when you were in that particular situation.
2. Barack Obama
Opening: “You can’t say it, but you know it’s true.”
3. Seth MacFarlane
Opening: “There’s nowhere I would rather be on a day like this than around all this electoral equipment.” (It was raining)
How to use humour to open your speech?
When you use humour in a manner that suits your personality, it can set you up for a great speech. Why? Because getting a laugh in the first 30 seconds or so is a great way to quickly get the audience to like you.
And when they like you, they are much more likely to listen to and believe in your ideas.
Obama effortlessly uses his opening line to entice laughter among the audience. He brilliantly used the setting (the context of Trump becoming President) and said a line that completely matched his style of speaking.
Saying a joke without really saying a joke and getting people to laugh requires you to be completely comfortable in your own skin. And that’s not easy for many people (me being one of them).
If the joke doesn’t land as expected, it could lead to a rocky start.
Keep in mind the following when attempting to deliver a funny introduction:
- Know your audience: Make sure your audience gets the context of the joke (if it’s an inside joke among the members you’re speaking to, that’s even better!). You can read this article we wrote where we give you tips on how you can actually get to know your audience better to ensure maximum impact with your speech openings
- The joke should suit your natural personality. Don’t make it look forced or it won’t elicit the desired response
- Test the opening out on a few people who match your real audience. Analyze their response and tweak the joke accordingly if necessary
- Starting your speech with humour means your setting the tone of your speech. It would make sense to have a few more jokes sprinkled around the rest of the speech as well as the audience might be expecting the same from you
4. Mohammed Qahtani
Opening: Puts a cigarette on his lips, lights a lighter, stops just before lighting the cigarette. Looks at audience, “What?”
5. Darren Tay
Opening: Puts a white pair of briefs over his pants.
How to use props to begin your speech?
The reason props work so well in a talk is because in most cases the audience is not expecting anything more than just talking. So when a speaker pulls out an object that is unusual, everyone’s attention goes right to it.
It makes you wonder why that prop is being used in this particular speech.
The key word here is unusual . To grip the audience’s attention at the beginning of the speech, the prop being used should be something that the audience would never expect. Otherwise, it just becomes something that is common. And common = boring!
What Mohammed Qahtani and Darren Tay did superbly well in their talks was that they used props that nobody expected them to.
By pulling out a cigarette and lighter or a white pair of underwear, the audience can’t help but be gripped by what the speaker is about to do next. And that makes for a powerful speech opening.
6. Simon Sinek
Opening: “How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions?”
7. Julian Treasure
Opening: “The human voice. It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world. Probably the only one that can start a war or say “I love you.” And yet many people have the experience that when they speak people don’t listen to them. Why is that? How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?”
How to use questions to open a speech?
I use this method often. Starting off with a question is the simplest way to start your speech in a manner that immediately engages the audience.
But we should keep our questions compelling as opposed to something that is fairly obvious.
I’ve heard many speakers start their speeches with questions like “How many of us want to be successful?”
No one is going to say ‘no’ to that and frankly, I just feel silly raising my hand at such questions.
Simon Sinek and Jullian Treasure used questions in a manner that really made the audience think and make them curious to find out what the answer to that question is.
What Jullian Treasure did even better was the use of a few statements which built up to his question. This made the question even more compelling and set the theme for what the rest of his talk would be about.
So think of what question you can ask in your speech that will:
- Set the theme for the remainder of your speech
- Not be something that is fairly obvious
- Be compelling enough so that the audience will actually want to know what the answer to that question will be
8. Aaron Beverley
Opening: Long pause (after an absurdly long introduction of a 57-word speech title). “Be honest. You enjoyed that, didn’t you?”
How to use silence for speech openings?
The reason this speech opening stands out is because of the fact that the title itself is 57 words long. The audience was already hilariously intrigued by what was going to come next.
But what’s so gripping here is the way Aaron holds the crowd’s suspense by…doing nothing. For about 10 to 12 seconds he did nothing but stand and look at the audience. Everyone quietened down. He then broke this silence by a humorous remark that brought the audience laughing down again.
When going on to open your speech, besides focusing on building a killer opening sentence, how about just being silent?
It’s important to keep in mind that the point of having a strong opening is so that the audience’s attention is all on you and are intrigued enough to want to listen to the rest of your speech.
Silence is a great way to do that. When you get on the stage, just pause for a few seconds (about 3 to 5 seconds) and just look at the crowd. Let the audience and yourself settle in to the fact that the spotlight is now on you.
I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about starting the speech off with a pure pause that just makes the beginning so much more powerful. It adds credibility to you as a speaker as well, making you look more comfortable and confident on stage.
If you want to know more about the power of pausing in public speaking , check out this post we wrote. It will give you a deeper insight into the importance of pausing and how you can harness it for your own speeches. You can also check out this video to know more about Pausing for Public Speaking:
9. Dan Pink
Opening: “I need to make a confession at the outset here. Little over 20 years ago, I did something that I regret. Something that I’m not particularly proud of. Something that in many ways I wish no one would ever know but that here I feel kind of obliged to reveal.”
10. Kelly McGonigal
Opening: “I have a confession to make. But first I want you to make a little confession to me.”
How to use a build-up to open your speech?
When there are so many amazing ways to start a speech and grip an audience from the outset, why would you ever choose to begin your speech with a ‘Good morning?’.
That’s what I love about build-ups. They set the mood for something awesome that’s about to come in that the audience will feel like they just have to know about.
Instead of starting a speech as it is, see if you can add some build-up to your beginning itself. For instance, in Kelly McGonigal’s speech, she could have started off with the question of stress itself (which she eventually moves on to in her speech). It’s not a bad way to start the speech.
But by adding the statement of “I have a confession to make” and then not revealing the confession for a little bit, the audience is gripped to know what she’s about to do next and find out what indeed is her confession.
11. Tim Urban
Opening: “So in college, I was a government major. Which means that I had to write a lot of papers. Now when a normal student writes a paper, they might spread the work out a little like this.”
12. Scott Dinsmore
Opening: “8 years ago, I got the worst career advice of my life.”
How to use storytelling as a speech opening?
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” Steve Jobs
Storytelling is the foundation of good speeches. Starting your speech with a story is a great way to grip the audience’s attention. It makes them yearn to want to know how the rest of the story is going to pan out.
Tim Urban starts off his speech with a story dating back to his college days. His use of slides is masterful and something we all can learn from. But while his story sounds simple, it does the job of intriguing the audience to want to know more.
As soon as I heard the opening lines, I thought to myself “If normal students write their paper in a certain manner, how does Tim write his papers?”
Combine such a simple yet intriguing opening with comedic slides, and you’ve got yourself a pretty gripping speech.
Scott Dismore’s statement has a similar impact. However, just a side note, Scott Dismore actually started his speech with “Wow, what an honour.”
I would advise to not start your talk with something such as that. It’s way too common and does not do the job an opening must, which is to grip your audience and set the tone for what’s coming.
13. Larry Smith
Opening: “I want to discuss with you this afternoon why you’re going to fail to have a great career.”
14. Jane McGonigal
Opening: “You will live 7.5 minutes longer than you would have otherwise, just because you watched this talk.”
How to use provocative statements to start your speech?
Making a provocative statement creates a keen desire among the audience to want to know more about what you have to say. It immediately brings everyone into attention.
Larry Smith did just that by making his opening statement surprising, lightly humorous, and above all – fearful. These elements lead to an opening statement which creates so much curiosity among the audience that they need to know how your speech pans out.
This one time, I remember seeing a speaker start a speech with, “Last week, my best friend committed suicide.” The entire crowd was gripped. Everyone could feel the tension in the room.
They were just waiting for the speaker to continue to know where this speech will go.
That’s what a hard-hitting statement does, it intrigues your audience so much that they can’t wait to hear more! Just a tip, if you do start off with a provocative, hard-hitting statement, make sure you pause for a moment after saying it.
Silence after an impactful statement will allow your message to really sink in with the audience.
Related article: 5 Ways to Grab Your Audience’s Attention When You’re Losing it!
15. Ramona J Smith
Opening: In a boxing stance, “Life would sometimes feel like a fight. The punches, jabs and hooks will come in the form of challenges, obstacles and failures. Yet if you stay in the ring and learn from those past fights, at the end of each round, you’ll be still standing.”
How to use your full body to grip the audience at the beginning of your speech?
In a talk, the audience is expecting you to do just that – talk. But when you enter the stage and start putting your full body into use in a way that the audience does not expect, it grabs their attention.
Body language is critical when it comes to public speaking. Hand gestures, stage movement, facial expressions are all things that need to be paid attention to while you’re speaking on stage. But that’s not I’m talking about here.
Here, I’m referring to a unique use of the body that grips the audience, like how Ramona did. By using her body to get into a boxing stance, imitating punches, jabs and hooks with her arms while talking – that’s what got the audience’s attention.
The reason I say this is so powerful is because if you take Ramona’s speech and remove the body usage from her opening, the entire magic of the opening falls flat.
While the content is definitely strong, without those movements, she would not have captured the audience’s attention as beautifully as she did with the use of her body.
So if you have a speech opening that seems slightly dull, see if you can add some body movement to it.
If your speech starts with a story of someone running, actually act out the running. If your speech starts with a story of someone reading, actually act out the reading.
It will make your speech opening that much more impactful.
Related article: 5 Body Language Tips to Command the Stage
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So there it is! 15 speech openings from some of my favourite speeches. Hopefully, these will act as a guide for you to create your own opening which is super impactful and sets you off on the path to becoming a powerful public speaker!
But remember, while a speech opening is super important, it’s just part of an overall structure.
If you’re serious about not just creating a great speech opening but to improve your public speaking at an overall level, I would highly recommend you to check out this course: Acumen Presents: Chris Anderson on Public Speaking on Udemy. Not only does it have specific lectures on starting and ending a speech, but it also offers an in-depth guide into all the nuances of public speaking.
Being the founder of TED Talks, Chris Anderson provides numerous examples of the best TED speakers to give us a very practical way of overcoming stage fear and delivering a speech that people will remember. His course has helped me personally and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to learn public speaking.
No one is ever “done” learning public speaking. It’s a continuous process and you can always get better. Keep learning, keep conquering and keep being awesome!
Lastly, if you want to know how you should NOT open your speech, we’ve got a video for you:
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Five of the Best Speech Opening Lines
Great opening lines to a speech get us curious and can set the direction for a powerful talk. In those first few seconds you have the chance to gain your audience’s attention, earn their trust, and persuade them you are someone worth listening to. The best introductions to speeches are a mile away from the standard welcomes and thank yous that set the snoozometer to max. Get it right, and those initial words can captivate the crowd from the off, creating a connection with every individual in the room. But how do you go about opening your speech with something different and memorable? A great place to start is looking at examples of introductions to successful speeches to see what you can learn from them. To show you what we mean, we’ve picked some of our favourite opening lines from TED talks, home to some of the best conference speeches in the world. From funny stories to hard-hitting introductions, TED talks show the art of the possible when it comes to getting your speech off to a kick-ass start. Have a go at guessing the speaker, or the focus of the rest of their talk (hint…we give you the answers later on).
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Guess the Speech: Five of the best speech opening lines
Speech A: Good morning. How are you? It’s been great, hasn’t it? I’ve been blown away by the whole thing. In fact, I’m leaving.
Speech B: For a long time, there was me, and my body. Me was composed of stories, of cravings, of strivings, of desires of the future. Me was trying not to be an outcome of my violent past, but the separation that had already occurred between me and my body was a pretty significant outcome. Me was always trying to become something, somebody. Me only existed in the trying. My body was often in the way.
Speech C: Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat.
Speech D: Okay, now I don’t want to alarm anybody in this room, but it’s just come to my attention that the person to your right is a liar. (Laughter) Also, the person to your left is a liar. Also the person sitting in your very seats is a liar. We’re all liars. What I’m going to do today is I’m going to show you what the research says about why we’re all liars, how you can become a liespotter and why you might want to go the extra mile and go from liespotting to truth seeking, and ultimately to trust building.
Speech E: Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D.
Answers: Who delivered these great opening lines?
These examples pack a punch for very different reasons. There’s absolutely no chance of the audience zoning out when the speaker goes straight in with such a powerful start. So, who gave these speeches, and why are the introductions so good? Time for the big reveal….
A: Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
Deceptively simple, the opening lines for this speech set the tone for what has become the most viewed TED talk of all (currently nearly 57 million views). Far from being just ‘throat clearing’, Sir Ken’s funny introduction cleverly paves the way for a talk that will gently but profoundly show us a new way of looking at education. It’s as if we are at a dinner party, being hosted by Sir Ken – he makes us feel comfortable, interested and open all at once. We are not being lectured to (which is always a possibility when education is the subject matter of choice), we want to learn and hear more. Very skilful indeed.
Ginger tip: funny introductions
Using humour in your introduction can be a great way to get your speech off to a flying start – but only if you do it in a way that feels natural. This example shows how you can make people laugh without telling a joke. It’s about finding your own funny and feeling totally comfortable with what you’re saying. If it feels a bit forced to you, it definitely will to your audience. You don’t have to make people roll around on the floor laughing, but light-hearted and amusing anecdotes can add energy and engagement to your talk – which is especially needed if you’re in the dreaded after-lunch slot . Remember, when you open your speech with something funny, you are setting the tone for the rest of your talk – so you’ll need to pepper humour throughout.
Extra Ginger nuggets
How to write a funny speech Funny inspiring speakers talks
B: Eve Ensler: Suddenly, my body
As you’d expect from a the writer of the Vagina Monologues, the start of this speech opening was profound, stark in its honesty and inviting. We empathize and want to know more. Unfortunately this speech suffered from a common affliction that writers face; in getting focused on the precise words of the speech (in this instance, Eve Ensler read her speech), we can get disconnected from the full power of the material. Whilst the words were powerful, we would have enjoyed the rest of this speech more if Eve had given herself permission to find the right words in the moment, rather than needing to be perfectly scripted.
Ginger tip: going unscripted
You want it to be perfect. You’re worried about forgetting something vital. You’re scared of doing it wrong. These are common and perfectly understandable reasons why people opt to script their speech and read it word for word. But rather than delivering a foot-perfect performance, you’re more likely to lose the vital connection with the audience. Not to mention risking plunging yourself into the dreaded ‘I’m sorry I’ve lost my place’ scenario. More than anything, people want you to be human and to speak from the heart. It takes confidence to ditch your notes, but with some simple techniques, you can prepare and remember your speech in a way that allows you to deliver a clear, compelling and authentic talk.
How to start a speech with power and confidence How to remember a speech without notes
C: Jamie Oliver’s TED Wish: Teach every child about food
This is one of our favourite ever TED talks, and it doesn’t pull its punches from the very first line. Jamie Oliver manages to balance preparation (statistics, stories, well-developed ideas) with heart in his TED talk. This speech opening line both makes our jaws drop to the ground in shock at such a statistic and opens our hearts to the human side of the story. Powerful stuff.
Ginger tip: punchy facts
Opening your speech with a hard-hitting fact can quickly add credibility to your talk and demonstrate the scale of an issue. It’s best to keep statistics simple and make them as relevant to the audience as possible, so it feels memorable rather than dry. Resist the urge to stuff the rest of the speech with stats. Try to stick to a few powerful facts and bring them to life with real examples.
Extra Ginger nuggets:
The key to presenting data…is not to present data How to make a powerful point with your speech
D: Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar
We love talks that balance humour and connect us to the subject matter in hand – and Pamela Meyer does this perfectly in her TED talk opening line. By bringing a challenge straight to us, in our very seats, Pamela engages us and makes sure the talk is about ‘me’ the audience member. We’re laughing and ready to listen. Great job.
Ginger tip: setting up a problem
Setting up a problem at the start of your speech immediately creates a reason for listening and a direction for your talk. And if you involve the audience in the problem, it’s even more powerful. It doesn’t have to be something completely new, in fact telling us what we already know and explaining why that’s a problem can be a really engaging way to start. Depending on the subject matter, you can frame the problem in different ways – from serious to humorous. And it gives a natural structure to the rest of your talk as you explore how to solve the issue.
The best way to engage your audience Five methods to master audience interaction
E: Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed
Wow, what an opening! Who wouldn’t want to know more? Ric Elias showed here how powerful it is to jump straight into a story, with no fussing around with thank yous and throat clearing. Unfortunately after the winning start, the rest of the talk lacked some of the gusto and drama of its opening lines. What can we learn from this? Start with power, but make sure you structure your talk to include a journey that will continue to keep us involved all the way through.
Ginger tip: start with a story
Stories are one of the most effective ways to inspire others. We’re hard wired to connect with stories and your experience of the world is one of the most valuable speaking tools that you possess. Telling a story is a popular way to open a speech because it can quickly build that all-important human connection with your audience. If you have a message that’s personal, or if you’re trying to influence your audience to make a change, a story is a great place to start.
Why is it so important to tell your story? 3 storytelling secrets for public speaking
Creating the best introduction for your speech
We hope these examples of great opening lines demonstrate that you don’t have to conform to the ‘safe’ introductions we’re all used to hearing at corporate conferences. In fact, at Ginger, we dare our speakers to rip up the ‘rulebook’, to be courageous, and to take a different approach to setting the scene. You can find even more tips in our free guide, The 10 best ways to start your talk . We’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other examples of great opening lines – so please share your ideas in the comments below.
Of course, it’s all very well creating a captivating introduction, but you don’t want the rest of your talk to fall off a cliff edge after you’ve built it up so spectacularly. Maintaining the audience’s attention for the rest of your speech is just as important. We’ve developed the TED-style Talk Guidebook to help you through the process of writing a brilliant speech. Whether you’re crafting a short talk or a keynote, it will help you create a speech that’s as good as a TED talk – so you can wow your audience from the first word to the final thank you. If you’d like to get hands-on support with becoming a better public speaker, then take a look at our training courses. There’s something for every level, from nervous beginners to becoming a leading speaker on the world stage. We’d love to welcome you along.
UK based? Here’s some courses that you might enjoy:
- Presentation Skills and Essentials
- Leadership and Communications
- TED Talk Presentations
Ginger Leadership Communications
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Examples Of Speech Of Introduction
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There are a lot of people who refuse to do speeches as they suffer from stage fright and they suffer from the thought of forgetting their lines. All that is normal. But did you know that speeches have evolved as years gone by? There are those who consider sending a long text message as speech, but of course, that differs depending on who you may be asking. Of course, speeches are a way to communicate with people, whether family, friends, colleagues or the community. How you deliver them would differ with who the speech is for. If you plan on knowing how to write or how to make your very own speech, I highly suggest you check out the following examples below.
How To Start A Self
Introducing yourself to a group of strangers can be intimidating and awkward. But you can avoid this by crafting a proper and good self-introduction speech. You may also check out presentation speech examples & samples
Heres how to start a self-introduction speech.
- Start by stating your full name clearly and your personal details. Say it out loud like you are giving a leadership speech .
- Mention where you from or an organization you belong.
- Give your personal and educational background. If its necessary, tell your family background
- Talk about your interest, hobbies or passion.
Tips For Making A Fun Self Introduction
Remember when you were first told to introduce yourself as a child? Some were nervous, others wouldnât even talk and a small few were able to do so without much effort. Those were the days. But what about when you were in high school or college, how did you make your self introduction speech so fun, that everyone was so interested in knowing more about you. As well as wanting to try out what you did because it was cool? Its still cool really. Well, here are some tips to take it up a notch or for anyone to go ahead and try it out themselves.
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An Example Tribute Speech
A tribute speech may also be a commemorative speech. That is a speech celebrating, praising or paying tribute to the memory of: a person, a group, an institution, a thing, an event or even an idea. Or it could be a eulogy or funeral speech a speech celebrating a person’s life.
This example tribute speech was written in memory of my mother, Iris.
Here are the opening sentences:
“My Mother’s name marked her out as the goddess of the rainbow, a messenger for the ancient Olympian gods and carrier of faith, hope and wisdom.
She was Iris. And although the meaning of her name is rich in imagery and history that wasn’t why her parent’s called her that. Instead it was something much closer to home.
After her birth my grandmother saw iris flowering out her bedroom window. She was named for the regal beauty of their dark purple flowers.”
Sample Student Council Speech
This page has everything you need to help you prepare a winning student council speech: comprehensive guidelines, a template, and an example speech.
The speaker in my example is running for president.
Here’s the opening to her speech:
“Ive got a question for you. Im not asking you to shout your answer out, or raise your hand. All Im asking is that you give it room in your mind. Let it sit for a bit, and have a think about it.
My question is do you believe like I do, that all of us deserve the opportunity to make the best of ourselves? Not second best, 3rd, or even, highly commended. The BEST.”
Get the guidelines, the template, and read the whole speech: sample student council speech
The example thank you speech expresses gratitude for being the recipient of a community service award.
Here’s the opening sentences:
“Who’s considered the incredible power of thank you? Those two words express gratitude, humility, understanding, as well as acknowledgement.
I am here with you: my family, many of my friends and colleagues, because I need to say all of that, and then some more.”
You’ll find the full speech, and guidelines covering how to write a speech of thanks here: thank you speech example
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Tips For Doing A Self
- Keep it short but detailed you must always remember that there are some speeches that would only ask you to talk for certain amounts of time. Keep in mind that your speech should also match the time given. Speeches should be kept short but detailed at the same time.
- Avoid using difficult words As you do your introduction speech, avoid having to use difficult jargons. Stick to general and easier to understand words. Your speech should not sound too difficult to comprehend, or your audience would lose interest.
- The one thing to get your audience to remember you is to share a fun fact. Your fun fact can be about anything, but it is recommended that it is something about you. Fun facts draw your audience in to listen to you even more.
- Understand your audience Your introduction speech should match your audience. If your audience is a group of students in school, you must match their level or at least use words that may be common for them to understand. If your audience is a group of people from work, use words that may be common for people in the workplace.
- Be professional It is easier to get lost when you are doing your self-introduction speech. But always remember that you must be professional first and foremost. If your self-introduction is meant to be serious, be serious.
Let Us Have A Look At Some Of The Ways You Could Give A Self
I am here to give an interview. Let me introduce myself first.
I have completed my graduation in
I need employment to assist fund for further studies.
I am a driven individual who understands the importance of exertion and perseverance. I hope I can answer all the questions you may have.
I hope to get a positive response from you. It would be my pleasure if I get to work with your esteemed organization.
Hello! My Name is
I recently completed my studies in journalism at college. I received high grades and also participated in the program for television and print reporting.
I am hoping to get a chance to hone my skills at a publication like yours. And boost my career.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am honored to be here. My educational background, I believe, has given me the confidence and competence I possess. I have gone through your requirements and think that I am fit for them. I have done a little internship as well to get the required skills set. Hope you find it useful. I thank you for giving me your time from your busy schedule. I appreciate it.
It is my pleasure to be here and I would like to speak a little about myself. I have worked with a wide range of clients and found each one to be beneficial.
I am hopeful your organization will provide me with this chance since I believe I would be a valuable asset to you because of my dedicated work ethic and my proven track record of things.
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Introduction Speech Writing Tips
Here are some tips for you to write a perfect introduction speech in no time
- Choose a unique topic idea for your introduction speech.
- Develop a well-planned speech outline to organize ideas in one place.
- Conduct thorough research to gather credible and relevant data.
- Begin your speech with an impressive hook statement to attract the audience.
- Use simple sentences and words instead of difficult vocabulary.
- Focus on conveying the main ideas clearly and precisely.
- Use a convincing tone to engage the audience, and dont brag about your accomplishments.
- Use visuals, including pictures, graphs, and maps to understand easily.
- Revise and proofread the speech to avoid common writing errors.
How Do You Start A Speech Of Introduction
Finally, after spending hours outlining, editing, and rehearsing your speech of introduction, you are about to deliver the speech to the actual target audience.
The start of an introduction speech is crucial as it captures the audiences attention and determines the length of interest and engagement of your audience towards your speech . If your crowd felt bored at the start of the speech , there is a small chance of conveying your audiences influence and message.
Let us take on the different ways of starting a speech of introduction and actively engross your target crowd.
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Usain Bolt Introductory Speech Example
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
Today, it is both my honor and privilege to be able to introduce you to a role model of the athletic world, a man of distinction Usain Bolt.
Born on August 21, 1986 in Jamaica, he has distinguished himself as a world class sprinter and he currently holds the Olympic and World Records for the 100 meters in 9.69 seconds and the 200 meters in 19.30 seconds. Wow. Amazing. I wish I could run that fast. You may also like student council speech examples
What makes his achievements all the more remarkable is the fact that they were all set at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He eventually became the first man to win all three events in one of the categories in the Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984 and the first man in history to set world records in all three events at a single Olympics. His name and his achievements in sprinting have earned him the media nickname Lightning Bolt. You may also check out commencement speech examples
I am sure that you all know a great deal about his public sprinting life, but there is more to him than just running.
Please give a warm welcome to none other than Usain Lightning Bolt to share with you some words of wisdom on not giving up.
Do I Really Need To Add My Dreams And Aspirations In My Speech
Not necessarily. You can use what topic you choose to add in your speech as long as you do not go over the amount of time given.
There you have it, some tips on making a fun introduction speech and some ideas to help you with it. Check out the examples as well for more information on introduction speeches. With that being said, I wish you luck on your next introduction speech.
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Th Birthday Speech Sample
The first example is a 50th birthday speech for a man. It is written as if from a close male friend. You could call it a loving roast!
“Good evening all. It’s great to have you here. Most of you know my feeling on birthdays. Generally I say, what’s the big deal?
They’re not unusual. Everybody has them and at the same rate as everybody else – one a year. They happen whether you want them to or not.
Believe me, I know. I’ve had quite a few and looking around this room I can see it’s the same for others as well.
So why are we here?”
Read more: 50th birthday speech
Tips On Writing An Introduction Speech
1. Keep it short. When you try to self introduction speech to a person you just met, you dont tell them paragraphs of information that arent even relevant. You would want to entice an audience, not bore them out. You dont need to make it lengthy for it to be good. A few wise words and a touch of class will be enough for your listeners.
2. Make an outline. Introductions are meant to give an audience a quick run through of what they must know. Create a speech outline that will state the purpose of your speech and provide a preview of main ideas that are to be discussed. This is sure to give your audience a reason to listen.
3. Create an icebreaker. Speeches can be quite awkward, especially since theyre usually made formal. Craft a speech that will leave a good impact. Allow others to feel comfortable with the environment they are in and allow them to feel valued. You may also see orientation speech examples & samples
4. Read it out loud. The thing is, some things sound better in our heads than being said aloud. Its possible that your speech in pdf may contain words that dont sound good together or that it might give a different interpretation on a matter.
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The Function Of An Introduction Speech
Let’s start with the purpose of the speech. When you understand what the speech is supposed to achieve you’ll find it much easier to write.
The job of an introduction speech is to:
- introduce your guest speaker,
- give them a warm welcome,
- and create ready-and-motivated-to-listen anticipation in the audience.
Essentially you are the warm-up act. Your task is to focus and unite the audience members, to get them ready for what is to come.
How To Write A Introduction Speech
In writing an introduction speech, its wise to familiarize the flow of a program.
Think about what your goal is and how you could attain it. You need to be able to capture the attention and interest of your listeners. If youre giving a speech to introduce the president of your company, be sure to make it grand. Share significant details that are sure to receive a wow factor from the audience as an introduction speech can also be an informative speech . Keep in mind that its always best to start with an outline or draft so it will be easier for you to edit.
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A Few Pointers On How To Make A Good Speech
- In a self-introduction, never lie. Because thats not going to help in the long run
- In your speech, use anecdotes to explain things like accomplishments, etc.
- When giving a self-introduction speech, hobbies are usually a topic to discuss.
- The beginning and end of your speech are unquestionably the most noticeable aspects of it. As a result, ensure they are both working.
- For your introductory speech, come up with a unique topic suggestion.
- Instead of using challenging terminology, use simple sentences and words.
- Concentrate on delivering the points clearly and concisely.
- Talking about yourself with trepidation can hurt your chances of making a good impression on the interviewer and perhaps jeopardize your probability of winning the job.
- Do not just recite your CV and cover letter contents. Provide examples to make it sound genuine. Emphasize those things that are not mentioned in your Resume
- Freshers believe they do not have much to talk about: be clear: you know you are a fresher, and your interviewer knows you too. So dont worry. Use this time for self-introduction to show off your qualities in the best possible light. You can take control of your interview by doing so.
- Avoiding distractions and maintaining eye contact when speaking are critical. Stay relaxed but stable. Maintain a professional body posture.
Introduction Speech Ideas For A Successful Presentation
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Giving good presentations is an important skill in many careers because employees can use these informative displays to communicate with colleagues, managers and customers. Many of these displays begin with a short speech that introduces the speaker and explains why they’re knowledgeable about the topic on which they’re presenting. It’s useful to understand how to craft a high-quality introduction so you can better connect with your audience. In this article, we discuss nine introduction speech ideas to help you start your next presentation and show your knowledge in the workplace.
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Speech Example For A Class
A great speech about yourself for school should make your classmates feel like they know you better after you finish speaking. Here is an example of a class speech in case you need to introduce yourself in 100 words.
My name is Joshua Rowland, and you may not know that I can break four concrete blocks with one punch. Last month, I received my third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In my 16 years of life, its my greatest accomplishment. Ive been involved in martial arts since I was three. My younger brother, Marcus, is also a martial artist, as are our parents. Our passions as a family are physical fitness and spending time together, which martial arts allows us to do. After graduation, I hope to become a martial arts instructor by majoring in kinesiology. Thank you.
Add Your Argument Viewpoint Or Opinion
This function only applies if you are giving a speech to persuade. If your topic is informative, your job is to make sure that the thesis statement is nonargumentative and focuses on facts. For example, in the preceding thesis statement we have a couple of opinion-oriented terms that should be avoided for informative speeches: âunique sense,â âwell-developed,â and âpower.â All three of these terms are laced with an individualâs opinion, which is fine for a persuasive speech but not for an informative speech. For informative speeches, the goal of a thesis statement is to explain what the speech will be informing the audience about, not attempting to add the speakerâs opinion about the speechâs topic. For an informative speech, you could rewrite the thesis statement to read, âThis speech is going to analyze Barack Obamaâs use of lyricism in his speech, âA World That Stands as One,â delivered July 2008 in Berlin.â
On the other hand, if your topic is persuasive, you want to make sure that your argument, viewpoint, or opinion is clearly indicated within the thesis statement. If you are going to argue that Barack Obama is a great speaker, then you should set up this argument within your thesis statement.
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10+ Self-Introduction Speech Examples [ Student, Employee, Teacher ]
Self Introduction Speechs
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- Keep it short but detailed – you must always remember that there are some speeches that would only ask you to talk for certain amounts of time. Keep in mind that your speech should also match the time given. Speeches should be kept short but detailed at the same time.
- Avoid using difficult words – As you do your introduction speech, avoid having to use difficult jargons. Stick to general and easier to understand words. Your speech should not sound too difficult to comprehend, or your audience would lose interest.
- Share a fun fact – The one thing to get your audience to remember you is to share a fun fact. Your fun fact can be about anything, but it is recommended that it is something about you. Fun facts draw your audience in to listen to you even more.
- Understand your audience – Your introduction speech should match your audience. If your audience is a group of students in school, you must match their level or at least use words that may be common for them to understand. If your audience is a group of people from work, use words that may be common for people in the workplace.
- Be professional – It is easier to get lost when you are doing your self-introduction speech. But always remember that you must be professional first and foremost. If your self-introduction is meant to be serious, be serious.
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