What’s The Best Way To Start A Speech?

Your best chance to capture an audience happens in the start of a speech
Your best chance to capture an audience happens in the start of a speech
Image Credit: Lars Plougmann

When we are creating a speech, we’ve got a lot of work to do in order to capture the importance of public speaking. There’s the opening, the middle, and the ending. Each one of these parts is important. However, we might be able to say that the opening is just a little bit more important because of the impact that it can have on our audience. When we start a speech, our audience is trying to make up their minds as to if they should pay attention to us. How we begin a speech will determine if they decide to give us their attention…

The Bold Statement

The most powerful words of any speech are the first words that will be tumbling out of your mouth. What this means is that the very first thing that you say has to have the power to both capture and hold onto your audience’s attention. This means that one of your most powerful options is to use a bold statement to grab your audience’s attention. A bold statement is a statement that your audience may not have been expecting you to make. When you make a statement like this it will capture their attention and they’ll want to hear the next thing that you are going to be telling them.

The Power Of A Question

Another way to start a speech off in a way that will capture your audience’s attention is to ask them a question. One of the secrets to making this a success is in how you go about asking your question. You need to make sure that your entire body shows your audience that you are really asking them a question. This means that you need to plant your feet as you face towards the audience. You’ll need to lean into your audience as you ask your question. The effect of this will be as though you were talking directly to each member of your audience and asking them the question. When you ask a question, make sure that you then pause. This gives your audience time to think about how they’d like to answer your question before you move on.

Use Laughter To Capture An Audience

When you start a speech, your audience does not know you. They really don’t know what to expect out of the speech that you are going to be giving. What this means for you is that if you can find a way to make them laugh right off the bat, they will become interested in the rest of your speech. Making an audience laugh is never an easy thing to do. Getting them to laugh at the beginning of a speech when you have not yet presented any material or connected with them yet is even more difficult. However, if you can identify something that you know that your audience will find funny about the situation that they find themselves in or, even better, about you, then you’ll be able to grab their attention at the start of your speech.

What All Of This Means For You

The reason that we are willing to go the effort of creating a speech for an audience is because we want to find a way to connect with them and perhaps change their lives using the benefits of public speaking. In order to do this, we need to be able to create a speech with an opening, middle, and a close that will be of interest to our audience. The most important part of any speech is the opening because this is when you have a chance to grab the attention of your audience.

In order to create an opening that will capture your audience’s attention, you can start things off by including a bold statement in your opening. This statement will catch your audience by surprise and will make them want to listen more to find out how things turn out. You can also include a question in your opening. When you ask this question, you are going to want to use your entire body to ask the question so that it seems like you are directly asking it to each member of your audience. Another powerful opening technique is to find a way to get your audience to laugh during your speech’s opening. Humor can be difficult to do correctly, but if you can pick a topic that will get everyone in your audience to laugh then they’ll want to hear the rest of your speech.

What we have to say in every speech that we give is important. However, it’s not really going to matter if we can’t get our audience to pay attention to what we are saying. This means that when we are creating the opening for our next speech, we need to take the time to ensure that it will both grab and then hold onto our audience’s attention. Use the techniques that we’ve covered here and your next speech could be your most powerful one yet!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you could include a statement that was too bold in your speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’d like to be able to tell you that every time that you get asked to give a speech, you’ll be told what the people running the show want you to talk about. However, as is the case with all such things in real life, it never seems to work out this way. Instead, somebody who is hosting a show realizes that they need another speaker to fill their slots and they come and find you because you understand the importance of public speaking. Great, so you’ve been asked to give a speech, but you have no idea what you’ll be talking about. What’s a speaker to do?

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