Public Speaking Tips – How to open a Speech

Public Speaking Tips - How to open a Speech
by Paul Rigney

“10 seconds is all you have to get the audience’s attention. If you haven’t got them by then it is much harder to get their attention back.”

That’s how I have started a speech on how to write speeches. If you want your audience to listen to you more intently get their attention at the beginning.

A great way to write a good opening is to ask yourself this question: “What is the best thing I can say at the beginning to make the audience listen to me?”

A good speech opening may include these 3 elements:

1) Introduce the topic – Tell the audience what you are going to tell them. If you think of your speech like a book this part of the speech would be the table of contents. Not only will this grab the audience’s attention it is a great way to make sure your speech has structure

2) A startling question – “What would you say if I told you how to make $100,000 in 90 days?” A question like this will grab your audience’s attention right away. They will ask the questions to themselves and then want to hear your answer.

3) A quotation from history – “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” – John F Kennedy. Using a quote from history can stir up your audience’s emotions because they have heard the quote before and it takes them back to when they first heard the quote.

Writing a speech opening is like writing a speech headline. If the reader is not grabbed by the headline they will not read the article. If the audience is not grabbed by your speeches opening they wont want to hear the rest of the speech. Being in the room doesn’t mean they are listening.

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