public speaking

Have you ever asked for pay rise or asked someone out on a date? Did you think about what and how to say your opening line to have best effect? Openings are important in many of life’s situations. It is the same in public speaking where a good opening can get the speech of on a positive note. An effective public speaker will start their speech with the opening lines that will get the best result for the occasion and their personality.

There are number of ways that can be used to get your speech started. With experience will come the knowledge of which way works best for the occasion.

1. The conversational start
As the speaker stands up he looks over at his neighbor, smiles and says something like “I was just saying to “Y” that it is obvious you are all interested in….” In this relaxed conversational way the speaker gets going almost without the audience realizing.

2. Ask a Question
Ask an interesting and clear question that gets the audience thinking, e.g. a speech on food hygiene could be started with “Do you know how long it takes a fly to walk from one end of a hot dog to the other? It will get their attention and will get them trying to work out the answer.

3. Put Yourself In Their Shoes
The speech is started along the lines of “If I were sitting where you were sitting, without all the facts I would think… “This is a useful way to start where the audience may be against you or has a strong preconceived idea about your topic and do not want to listen to what you have to say. By starting this you have brought yourself alongside them and they will more disposed to listen to you.

4. Funny Story
If you can tell a story well this is an excellent opener. The story should be relevant to the rest of the speech. Getting the audience laughing pulls the audience together, gets their attention and sparks their interest in hearing the rest of the speech.

5. Using The Past
This does need to be kept brief but by relating the past and then bringing the audience up to date it can set the scene effectively for the rest of the speech. If you talk too long on the past you may start to bore your audience.

6. Using a Quotation
This is a simple and effective way to start a speech. It is simple because of the ease at finding great relevant quotations and it is effective because it indicates expertise in the topic you are discussing. Give the quote first and then relate the purpose of the quote.

7. An Interesting Story
A personal interesting story that relates to your speech is also an effective use of stories in gaining the audience’s interest. The story, like a good short story in literature should be brief and include some drama and suspense to get the audience wondering what happens next.

There are other effective ways to start your speech than those mentioned here. This is a selection of the effective ways to start your speech. The opening you choose depends on your personality and the speech you are giving. Try not to limit your introductions to only one kind of opening. Choosing different starts to your speech will help you in acquiring more effective public speaking skills.

To learn more about effective speaking when presenting to groups and in conversation visit to receive a free preview of The Art of Great Conversation