A question should really cause an audience to think. Questions such as, “Would you like to inherit some money? Do you know what day of the week this is? or, Can you add two and two?” do not require enough thinking to stimulate interest.
On the other hand, a question which is so complex it cannot be understood by an audience will also be unsuitable for a speaker to use. The average listener will simply refuse to think when the process becomes too difficult.
A startling, or unusual statement will usually attract atten¬tion. A businessman applied this principle when he started a speech by saying, “When I tell you this the boss may fire me, but anyway …”
Another speaker started a talk on safety by saying, “Three hundred coffins were shipped into this city yesterday. Will you inhabit one of them before the holiday week-end is over?”
Compare this beginning with a common one such as, “Many people will be killed in accidents over this holiday week-end. It always happens. Be careful or you may be one of the victims.”
Another way to begin a speech effectively is to present a stimulating challenge to an audience, compliment them sincerely, or to tell a new joke’ that is really humorous, well-suited to the occasion, and in harmony with the speaker’s subject.
There is a real power in questions when used the right way in public speaking . They get the audience thinking and get their attention. When you are asking thought provoking questions you are in control. You can lead them to where you want to go. Have you tried using a question at the beginning of your speech.