How to Start A Speech - Interesting Ideas & Examples
They say, “The First Impression Is The Last Impression.” Well! That’s right. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
The same is true for speech writing.
One of the hardest things about public speaking is to know how to start a presentation or speech. The presentation opening line makes the first impression on audience members.
The opening line, usually known as a hook statement, is one that captures the audience’s attention. It is the one that helps you captivate the audience.
So how do you make sure you nail it every time?
Below are ten killer ways to kick-start your speech.
Different Ways to Start a Speech
When it comes to inspiring, persuading, and influencing audiences, your speech’s most essential element is the opening.
So how do you start your speech in a way that will get the audience on your side?
Here are ten effective ways to start your speech successfully every time.
Below is a detailed description of these ways to start a speech.
People are really fond of quotes; they are quite inspiring and motivational and easy to remember also. Starting your speech with a famous quote helps you set the tone for your speech.
Well-thought-out words of history’s best orators can sometimes be the ticket for your successful speech.
One good example is: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams.
Start your speech with compelling and personalized statistics that surprise the audience members. Adding statistics to your presentation is a powerful way to add a quantifiable and persuasive aspect to your message. It provides you the basis for building your argument, supporting your claim, and proving it right.
An example could be: “72% of adult internet users use Facebook”.
3. Rhetorical Question
A rhetorical question is a useful communication tool for a speech. These questions help you get your audience involved and participate in your presentation. They help you control your speech and the audience’s thoughts. A good public speaker knows exactly how to make his audience move forward with his message.
A very famous rhetorical question of all times by William Shakespeare is:
“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not get revenge?” - The Merchant of Venice.
4. ‘What If’ Scenario
Creating a “what if” scenario to draw the audience’s attention to your speech works like a wonder. You can open your speech by asking a “what if” question to encourage your audience’s imagination.
For example: “What if you were blind for your life and today you just got to see the world? How have you imagined the world so far? And how do these colors attract you?. By the way, is there anyone who is color blind?”
5. Interesting Statement
You can start your talk with a powerful and catchy statement without asking the audience to pay attention to you. Interesting statements are very useful in engaging the audience and persuading them to listen and agree with you.
A famous statement from a ted talk is: “So I want to start by offering you a free, no-tech life hack, and all it requires of you is this: that you change your posture for two minutes.” Amy Cuddy – “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are”
6. Personal Anecdote or Experience
Start your speech by sharing personal experiences to make your audience feel connected. You can begin by telling them how much they will enjoy what you are about to share with them.
For example: “I was in high school when I first fell in love…..”
People love stories of any kind from infancy and childhood. As soon as people learn that you are going to tell a story, they immediately settle down, become quiet and lean forward like kids around a campfire.
The most precious thing in the speeches is pauses. Well-timed silence has more eloquence than speech. Take a little pause every time you need to emphasize something. Knowing where to take a pause helps you make your message effective.
“Lyla is dead.”
“But they don’t know it yet.”
8. ‘Imagine’ Scenario
It’s really easy to help people visualize your topic by painting a vivid picture for them. According to Frank Luntz, “One word automatically triggers the process of visualization by its mere mention: imagine.”
“Imagine” scenarios put the audience directly into the presentation by allowing them to visualize the extraordinary scenes. For example:
“Imagine you are hiking on Mount Everest, and you are just about to reach the peak, but suddenly you slip and roll down to the ground. How would you feel at that moment?”
9. Refer to the Historical Event
You can capture your audience’s attention by referring to a historical event related to your speech. Well-known historical events are good reference points to get the audience to use their imagination.
For example: “During the 1960s and ’70s, the United States intervened in the civil strife between North and South Vietnam. The result was a long time running war of attrition in which many American lives were lost, and the country of Vietnam suffered tremendous damage and destruction.”
While you may not have the desire to do a full humorous speech, there is no reason you can’t use humor to start your presentation. But you need to be very careful while you add humor to your speech because things that are funnier for you might offend your audience.
An example of a humorous beginning is: “Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” - Dr. Laurence J Peter.
Usage of humor is a genius trick to get your audience involved in your speech.
How to Start a Speech - Examples
Below are some amazing speech examples on how to start a speech. Check them out.
How to Start a Speech of Introduction?
How to Start a Speech About Yourself?
How to Start a Speech In School?
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Frequently Asked Question
How do you make a speech interesting?
Make your speech interesting by organizing it into segments, including concrete details and words understood by the audience. You can leverage concepts they already understand or interact with them personally through stories that evoke empathy for their situation.