Professional speech openings and introductions can be a challenge for people who are not familiar with delivering long speeches to professional, business, academic people. How does one open a speech to get the audience’s attention, make them sit up, listen and keep them interested for the duration of the speech? It always goes down to how you open and introduce your speech topic. It is their first time to hear you speak, it is their first time they are hearing about your thoughts and opinions, therefore it is critical that your opening and introduction grabs their attention and encourages them to listen. Their are four ways to open and introduce a speech:

  1. Why are they here listening to me…
  2. What are you going to tell them…
  3. How are you going to tell them
  4. What if they had this knowledge…

Why are they here listening to me? Why have your audience taken time out of their busy day and schedule to come and listen to you speak about a topic? What have they come to hear and learn? How will your knowledge, experience and thoughts effect their life, business, career? In this first section of your speech opening and introduction, you will explain the benefits your audience will get from coming today. The same benefits that they are expecting to get from coming today! What are you going to tell them? What are you going to talk about to your audience? What knowledge, skills and learnings are you going to impart upon them that will make them take action? What actual information are you going to share with them? In this second section of your speech opening and introduction, you will tell them what they are going to learn by coming here to your speaking function. How are you going to tell them? How will you impart your knowledge and information to your audience so that they can easily understand it. We all prefer to take information in different ways. Some like to read it, some like to hear it and some like to do it. Have you covered all these different ways of learning for your audience? Using PowerPoint, Hand-outs, Flip-chart, Pictures, Individual and Group Exercises / Work all makes for an entertaining and enjoyable time for your audience. In this third section of your speech opening and introduction, you will tell them how you are going to impart what you have to say to them. It depends of course on the duration of your speech. You as a speaker should try to accommodate all of the listeners preferred way of learning. Your audience does have all three types amongst them. What if they had this knowledge? The final and fourth section of your speech opening and introduction you will allow them ask questions, test the information, actually do the activity (if possible). By they actually doing, experimenting in a safe, learning environment what they have learned and receive feedback, cements what they have heard and helps them use it in their career / business and / or life. Duration time for the opening and introduction of your speech depends on your speech duration. A one day training course requires the above approach in detail, while a 20-40 minute speech would require it too, but in a short, briefer way…