Public Speaking – 5 Effective Openings

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An effective speaker will choose an opening that fits the circumstances and their personality. There are many different ways that a speaker can start their speech. And there are only 3 general rules in selecting an opening
(i)    Keep it brief
(ii)    Keep it relevant
(iii)    Keep it interesting
With that in mind here are examples of 5 effective ways that a speaker can open their speech:
Funny Story
This is an effective way to start if you can tell stories and you have a good story to tell. The story should be memorized because (a) humor is difficult to get across when read and (b) if you stumble over the punch line you lose the opportunity. If the story falls flat, move on as if you didn’t expect a laugh anyway.
The Casual Beginning
This is always an effective way to start speech. The audience does not realize you have started and you are into your speech straight away. As the speaker stands up they look over at their neighbour and says “I just saying to “Y” that it is plain to see you are all very interested in ….” And off you go.
Open With A Question
Use a question that makes the audience think and gets their attention. The question should be interesting and not to commonplace. A question like “Do you know what do of the week it is?”, does not ask enough of the audience to get them thinking. However, a question along the lines of “Have you ever played intercollegiate football on a muddy field during a cloudburst?”, will get the right audience interested.
Opening With Facts
This beginning gets you straight into your speech. However, facts can be boring. Try to add some interest when stating your fact. For example, starting your speech with “26,000 birds died along this stretch of coast this year because of oil spills” is ok. But a better way is to express this fact is “Oil spills are a killer and a very painful one at that. It is estimated that 26,000 birds died in agony, along our coastline this year because of this killer.”
Use A Quotation
A relevant quotation will get the speech off on the right note. The quote is given first and is followed by the reason for quoting it. It is easy to find suitable quotes either by traditional means or through the internet. Although they are easy to find an audience is impressed by a speaker who knows them off by heart.
There are other many other openings that can be used such as stories opening, empathy opening, shock opening etc. The type of opening used is dependent on the situation and the speaker. To become a more effective speaker, try out a variety of beginnings rather than sticking to one tried and tested opening.

My previous post on openings in public speaking discusses the importance of them in getting started on the right note.

4 Responses to “Public Speaking – 5 Effective Openings”

  1. [...] Of Great Speaking Speak with Confidence – Public Speaking and Conversation « Public Speaking – 5 Effective Openings Public Speaking – 5 Effective Speech Closes [...]

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  3. Toby Simpson says:

    oil spills should be controlled as soon as possible to prevent environmental damage’::

  4. admin says:

    Hi Toby,

    I agree with you. Oil spills cause too much damage to the environment, wild life and people’s livelihod. Quck effective action is needed.

    Thanks for stopping by.


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