Giving a speech could be a frightening experience. The key is how you get the ball rolling. Aside from early preparation that is an advantage to a successful speech, it can be a memorable one if you will have a powerful introduction. How you start your speech makes a difference in building your authority and trustworthiness with your audience.
Here are some tips to help you give your speech a powerful introduction.
Prepare ahead of time. Make a list or an outline of the things that you want to say. Think of your audience and where they come from. If they are kids, you can start your speech by coming up with something that you just discovered or ask them a question about the stars or the planets. If your speaking in front of professionals, come up with a question about their profession that will make them hang on to your speech to find out the answer.
There are several ways to start your speech. A powerful introduction maybe any of the following techniques and it all depends on which of these you think suits your style and your personality.
- A story catches your listener's attention and leads to your speech proper.
- Cracking a joke is one of the most effective ways, but keep in mind that this is a very delicate approach.
- A drama is something like, "What I am about to say in a few seconds will definitely change the way you think about things." Your line should be very catching to get your audience's attention.
- Asking a question could be fascinating, absorbing, intriguing. Ask a question that will focus them to your speech.
Use an index card in writing key words for your introduction. Do not write long sentences. You will only refer to your index card to remind you of what you're going to say. Index cards are not there for you to read your speech. Reading parts of your speech might only get you distracted and eventually go out of the topic, losing your opportunity for a powerful introduction.
Know your speech by heart, especially the introduction. Once you memorize, it won't be hard for you to recall every part just by looking at the keywords written on your index card. You can memorize your speech by practicing it everyday.
Practice your speech in front of the mirror, taking note of your mannerisms and gestures. Your body language can make a great impact on your listeners. Recording your speech on video will give you a chance to review your pronunciations, clarity and voice modulation. Correct pronunciations will give integrity, voice modulation radiates professionalism. You don't want to sound like an eight year old in front of stockholders, for example. Stress out points by raising the tone of your voice and you can generate curiosity and intrigue by toning it down. One good exercise is to ask some of your friends to listen to your speech, asking them for points that you can keep and those that need to be changed.
Walk to the podium with confidence when you are finally introduced. The walk from your seat to the lectern might be short but how you will do it will tell if you have something worthwhile to say.