How to Start a Speech: 7 Tips and Examples for a Captivating Opening

By Editorial Team on December 12, 2023 — 10 minutes to read

1. Choosing the Right Opening Line

Finding the perfect opening line for your speech is important in grabbing your audience’s attention. A strong opening line sets the stage for the points you want to make and helps you establish a connection with your listeners.

1. Start with a question

Engage your audience from the very beginning by asking them a thought-provoking question related to your topic. This approach encourages them to think, and it can create a sense of anticipation about what’s coming next.

  • “Have you ever wondered how much time we spend on our phones every day?”

2. Share a personal story

A relatable personal story can create an emotional connection with your audience. Make sure your story is short, relevant to your speech, and ends with a clear point.

  • “When I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me that every kind deed we do plants a seed of goodness in the world. It was this philosophy that inspired me to start volunteering.”

3. Use a quote or a statistic

Incorporate a powerful quote or an intriguing statistic at the outset of your speech to engage your audience and provide context for your topic.

  • “As the great Maya Angelou once said, ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'”

4. Make them laugh

Injecting a little humor into your opening line puts everyone at ease and makes your speech more memorable. Just make sure your joke is relevant and doesn’t offend your audience.

  • “They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if the doctor is cute, forget the fruit!”

5. Paint a mental picture

Draw your audience in by describing a vivid scene or painting an illustration in their minds. This creates an immersive experience that makes it easier for your audience to follow your speech.

  • “Picture this: you’re walking down the beach, and you look out on the horizon. The sun is setting, and the sky is a breathtaking canvas of reds, oranges, and pinks.”

2. Using a Personal Story

Sharing a personal story can be a highly effective way to engage your audience from the very beginning of your speech. When you open your talk with a powerful, relatable story, it helps create an emotional connection with your listeners, making them more invested in what you have to say.

Think about an experience from your life that is relevant to the topic of your speech. Your story doesn’t have to be grand or dramatic, but it should be clear and vivid. Include enough detail to paint a picture in your audience’s minds, but keep it concise and on point.

The key to successfully using a personal story is to make it relatable. Choose a situation that your audience can empathize with or easily understand. For example, if you’re giving a speech about overcoming adversity, you could talk about a time where you faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge and overcame it.

Make sure to connect your story to the main point or theme of your speech. After sharing your experience, explain how it relates to the topic at hand, and let your audience see the relevance to their own lives. This will make your speech more impactful and show your listeners why your personal story holds meaning.

3. Making a Shocking Statement

Starting your speech with a shocking statement can instantly grab your audience’s attention. This technique works especially well when your speech topic relates to a hot-button issue or a controversial subject. Just make sure that the statement is relevant and true, as false claims may damage your credibility.

For example, “Believe it or not, 90% of startups fail during their first five years in the market.” This statement might surprise your listeners and make them more receptive to your ideas on how to avoid pitfalls and foster a successful business.

So next time you’re crafting a speech, consider opening with a powerful shocking statement. It could be just the thing to get your audience sitting up and paying full attention. (Try to keep your shocking statement relevant to your speech topic and factual to enhance your credibility.)

4. Using Humor

Humor can be an excellent way to break the ice and grab your audience’s attention. Opening your speech with a funny story or a joke can make a memorable first impression. Just be sure to keep it relevant to your topic and audience.

A good joke can set a light-hearted tone, lead into the importance of effective time management, and get your audience engaged from the start.

When using humor in your speech, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be relatable: Choose a story or joke that your audience can easily relate to. It will be more engaging and connect your listeners to your message.
  • Keep it appropriate: Make sure the humor fits the occasion and audience. Stay away from controversial topics and avoid offending any particular group.
  • Practice your delivery: Timing and delivery are essential when telling a joke. Practice saying it out loud and adjust your pacing and tone of voice to ensure your audience gets the joke.
  • Go with the flow: If your joke flops or doesn’t get the reaction you were hoping for, don’t panic or apologize. Simply move on to the next part of your speech smoothly, and don’t let it shake your confidence.
  • Don’t overdo it: While humor can be useful in capturing your audience’s attention, remember that you’re not a stand-up comedian. Use it sparingly and focus on getting your message across clearly and effectively.

5. Incorporating a Quote

When you want to start your speech with a powerful quote, ensure that the quote is relevant to your topic. Choose a quote from a credible source, such as a famous historical figure, a well-known author, or a respected expert in your field. This will not only grab your audience’s attention but also establish your speech’s credibility.

For example, if you’re giving a speech about resilience, you might use this quote by Nelson Mandela: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Once you’ve found the perfect quote, integrate it smoothly into your speech’s introduction. You can briefly introduce the source of the quote, providing context for why their words are significant. For example:

Nelson Mandela, an inspirational leader known for his perseverance, once said: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

When you’re incorporating a quote in your speech, practice your delivery to ensure it has the intended impact. Focus on your tone, pace, and pronunciation. By doing so, you can convey the quote’s meaning effectively and connect with your audience emotionally.

Connect the quote to your main points by briefly explaining how it relates to the subject matter of your speech. By creating a natural transition from the quote to your topic, you can maintain your audience’s interest and set the stage for a compelling speech.

In our resilience example, this could look like:

“This quote by Mandela beautifully illustrates the power of resilience. Today, I want to share with you some stories of remarkable individuals who, like Mandela, overcame obstacles and rose every time they fell. Through their experiences, we might learn how to cultivate our own resilience and make the most of life’s challenges.”

6. Starting with a Question

Opening your speech with a question can be a great way to engage your audience from the start. This strategy encourages your listeners to think and become active participants in your presentation. Your opening question should be related to your core message, sparking their curiosity, and setting the stage for the following content. Here are a few examples:

  • For a motivational speech : “Have you ever wondered what you would do if you couldn’t fail?”
  • For a business presentation : “What’s the biggest challenge your team faces daily, and how can we overcome it?”
  • For an educational talk : “How does the way we use technology today impact the future of our society?”

When choosing the right starting question, consider your audience. You want to ask something that is relevant to their experiences and interests. The question should be interesting enough to draw their attention and resonate with their emotions. For instance, if you’re presenting to a group of entrepreneurs, gear your question towards entrepreneurship, and so on.

To boost your question’s impact, consider using rhetorical questions. These don’t require a verbal response, but get your audience thinking about their experiences or opinions. Here’s an example:

  • For an environmental speech : “What kind of world do we want to leave for our children?”

After posing your question, take a moment to let it sink in, and gauge the audience’s reaction. You can also use a brief pause to give the listeners time to think about their answers before moving on with your speech.

7. Acknowledging the Occasion

When starting a speech, you can acknowledge the occasion that brought everyone together. This helps create a connection with your audience and sets the stage for the rest of your speech. Make sure to mention the event name, its purpose, and any relevant individuals or groups you would like to thank for organizing it. For example:

“Hello everyone, and welcome to the 10th annual Charity Gala Dinner. I’m truly grateful to the fundraising committee for inviting me to speak tonight.”

After addressing the event itself, include a brief personal touch to show your connection with the topic or the audience. This helps the audience relate to you and gain interest in what you have to say. Here’s an example:

“As a long-time supporter of this cause, I am honored to share my thoughts on how we can continue making a difference in our community.”

Next, give a brief overview of your speech so the audience knows what to expect. This sets the context and helps them follow your points. You could say something like:

“Tonight, I’ll be sharing my experiences volunteering at the local food bank and discussing the impact of your generous donations.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective opening lines for speeches.

A powerful opening line will grab your audience’s attention and set the stage for the rest of your speech. Some effective opening lines include:

  • Start with a bold statement: “The world needs your creativity now more than ever.”
  • Share a surprising fact: “Did you know that the average person spends (…) years of their life at work?”
  • Pose a thought-provoking question: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
  • Tell a short, engaging story: “When I was 10 years old, I discovered my passion for baking in my grandmother’s kitchen.”

Can you provide examples of engaging introductions for speeches?

  • Use humor: “As a kid, I believed that 7 pm bedtime was a form of torture. Now, as an adult, I find myself dreaming of 7 pm bedtime.”
  • Share a personal experience: “On a trip to Italy, I found myself lost in the winding streets of a small village. It was there, amidst my confusion, that I stumbled upon the best gelato I’d ever tasted.”
  • Use an analogy: “Starting a new business is like taking a journey into the unknown. There will be challenges to overcome, and you’ll need resilience, determination, and a strong compass.”

Which speech styles can make a powerful impact on the audience?

Different speech styles will resonate with different audiences. Some styles to consider include:

  • Inspirational: Motivate your audience to take action or overcome challenges.
  • Storytelling: Share personal experiences or anecdotes to illustrate your points and keep listeners engaged.
  • Educational: Provide useful information and insights to help your audience learn or grow.
  • Persuasive: Present a compelling argument to convince your audience to adopt a particular perspective or take specific action.

How do successful speakers establish a connection with their listeners?

Establishing a connection with your listeners is key to delivering an impactful speech. Some ways to connect with your audience include:

  • Show empathy: Demonstrating understanding and concern for your audience’s feelings and experiences will generate a sense of trust and connection.
  • Be relatable: Share personal stories or examples that allow your audience to see themselves in your experiences, thus making your speech more relatable.
  • Keep it genuine: Avoid overrehearsing or coming across as scripted. Instead, strive for authenticity and flexibility in your delivery.
  • Encourage participation: Engaging your audience through questions, activities, or conversation can help build rapport and make them feel more involved.

What are some techniques for maintaining a friendly and professional tone in speeches?

To maintain a friendly and professional tone in your speeches, consider these tips:

  • Balance humor and seriousness: Use humor to lighten the mood and engage your audience, but make sure to also cover the serious points in your speech.
  • Speak naturally: Use your everyday vocabulary and avoid jargon or overly formal language when possible.
  • Show respect: Acknowledge differing opinions and experiences, and treat your audience with courtesy and fairness.
  • Provide useful information: Offer valuable insights and solutions to your audience’s concerns, ensuring they leave your speech feeling more informed and empowered.
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  • Empathy: Definition, Types, and Tips for Effective Practice
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12+ Opening Speech Examples for Presentations & Quick Tips

Last updated on June 7th, 2024

Opening Speech Samples for Presentations

These days, most of the audience prefers an informal approach in presentations, but at the same time, it must sound professional. When people prepare for any type of presentation, they often face this dilemma: how to start a presentation? What should be the opening speech? How much time should we take for the introduction part?

The first three minutes of your presentations are crucial to get to your audience with an engaging message and make the overall presentation effective. With the proper opening speech for your presentation, you can hook your audience, win the audience’s attention and get them audience interested in what you have to say. Check out some speech introduction examples to get familiar with this topic. Undoubtedly, if the beginning of your presentation is solid and exciting, the chances of success of your presentation increase. Opening your persuasive speech entirely depends upon your style and choice because when you are giving a presentation, you are required to be yourself and avoid putting artistic elements. So, choose something with which you are entirely comfortable.

If you are looking on how to start a speech then this article can help you to get some ideas. Here is a list of opening speech examples that you can use to prepare your presentations with a persuasive speech that convinces the audience. Find useful starting lines of speech, phrases and strategies to make your presentation a success:

1. Opening Speech with Greetings

This is the very basic, common and important step in which you need to greet your audience by wish them good morning/afternoon or evening (as per the time of session in which you are giving presentation). How to start a speech? Check out some of the examples below including a simple but effective speech introduction greeting example.

Example of Opening Greetings

Hello, everyone. I’d like, first of all, to thank the organizers of this meeting for inviting me here today.

Another example of opening Greeting speech.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am honored to have the opportunity to address such a distinguished audience.

2. Open the Speech by Giving Compliment & Show Gratitude towards your Audience

Secondly, just after wishing greeting to your audience give them compliment and choose some words which show that you are delighted to see them there.


It’s great to see you all, Thank you for coming here today.

3. Give your introduction: Introduce Yourself

How you introduce yourself during a presentation is important. There are many ways to introduce yourself. Here we will see some examples on how to introduce yourself in a presentation. First of all, give your introduction start from telling your name. You can show some casual attitude by telling your short name or nick name, and then tell the audience more about your background and what you do.

For example, a good way to start introducing yourself could be:

My name is Louis Taylor, friends call me Lee sometimes.

Then introduce yourself professionally and give quite information about what you do and why are here today. For Example:

I am a software engineer by profession and working in ABC Corp. Today, I am here to provide you some exciting information about new technology, which is going to be very beneficial for you in future.

Another example of self-introduction speech:

For those of you who don’t know me already, my name is Louis Taylor, and I’m responsible for the software department at ABC Corp.

Using a self-introduction template and slide in your presentation, you can support your speech while presenting the information about you in the projection. You can also visit self introduction speech examples to find out some examples on how to introduce yourself and download self-introduction templates for PowerPoint & Google Slides.

4. Opening with the Topic of the Speech

Next is the part where you introduce the topic of your presentation or speech. Here are some examples of good opening speech for presentations examples on a specific topic.

What I’d like to present to you today is…

Or here is a simplified example of a good introduction for presentation in which we try to get the audience’s attention over the screen where you are presenting the content of your PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.

As you can see on the screen, our topic today is…

5. Signpost

Put all your information in front of them and then put your proposal and its related information and key point by which you can implement and utilize that idea effectively. Now let collect these points to make a summary and concise illustration. Here is an example of presentation starting speech that you can use:

“Good afternoon every one, it’s great to see you all here, thank you for coming. My name is Louis Taylor, friends call me Lee sometimes. I am a software engineer by profession and working with ABC Ltd. Today we are here to know about new software so that we can take most of it. Firstly, we will look how it work, next we will discuss where can we use it, then we will learn what are its advantages and finally we will discuss what precautions are required to kept in mind while implementing it.”

6. Creating an Emotional Connection in Your Opening Speech

An effective opening speech is not just about presenting information or stating facts; it’s about forging an emotional connection with your audience. Building this connection can make your presentation more engaging, relatable, and memorable. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

Storytelling: One of the most powerful ways to establish an emotional connection is through storytelling. Sharing a personal anecdote or a relevant story can evoke emotions and draw your audience into your presentation. Make sure your story aligns with the overall theme of your presentation and adds value to your message.

Example of speech opening:

“Good morning, everyone. When I was a little boy, I used to watch my grandfather work tirelessly on his old typewriter. The clacking of the keys was a lullaby that lulled me into dreams of creating something impactful. Today, I am here to talk about the evolution of technology and its effect on communication, from typewriters of old to the smartphones of today.”

Relatability: Find common ground with your audience. This could be based on shared experiences, values, or aspirations. Doing so helps to humanize you, making it easier for your audience to relate to your message.

“Like many of you, I too struggle with maintaining a work-life balance in this fast-paced digital world. Today, I’ll share some strategies I’ve discovered that have significantly improved my quality of life.”

Utilizing Emotions: Use emotions like humor, surprise, curiosity, or inspiration to engage your audience. Different emotions can be used depending on the tone and purpose of your presentation.

“Did you know that the average person spends two weeks of their life waiting for traffic lights to change? That certainly puts our daily commute in a new light, doesn’t it?”

Remember, authenticity is crucial in building an emotional connection. Be yourself, share your experiences, and speak from the heart. This helps to gain your audience’s trust and keeps them engaged throughout your presentation.

7. Harnessing the Power of Visual Aids in Your Opening Speech

Visual aids are a potent tool in any presentation, particularly in your opening speech. They can grab your audience’s attention with a visually appealing cover slide, support your message, and make a lasting impression. Here are some ways you can utilize visual aids in your opening speech.

Images: An image is worth a thousand words, they say, and it’s true. An impactful or relevant image can pique the curiosity of your audience and set the tone for your presentation. Ensure the image aligns with your topic and contributes to your overall message.

“As you can see on the screen, this is an image of a barren desert. It may surprise you to learn that this was once a thriving forest. Today, I’ll be talking about climate change and its irreversible effects.”

Short Videos: A short video can be a great way to engage your audience. This could be a brief clip that illustrates your topic, a short animation, or even a quick introductory video about you or your organization.

Example of a presentation opening statement:

“Before we start, let’s watch this brief video about the incredible journey of a raindrop.”

Infographics and Charts: If you are sharing statistical data or complex information, infographic slides or charts can simplify and clarify your message. They are visually engaging and can help your audience understand and remember the information.

“Take a look at this chart. It shows the exponential increase in cybercrime over the last five years, a topic that we will delve into further today.”

Slides: A well-designed slide can provide a visual structure for your opening speech. It should be clean, easy to read, and should not distract from your speech. Avoid cluttering your slides with too much text or complex graphics.

“According to the infographic on the screen, we can see the three core areas we’ll be focusing on in today’s presentation.”

Remember, the goal of using visual slides is to enhance your message, not overshadow it. They should complement your speech and provide visual interest for your audience. Always test your visual aids beforehand to ensure they work properly during your presentation.

8. Engaging Your Audience with Rhetorical Questions

A rhetorical question is a powerful tool you can use in your opening speech to provoke thought and engage your audience. By posing a question that doesn’t require an answer, you can pique your audience’s interest, make them think, and steer their focus towards your presentation’s key points. Here’s how to use rhetorical questions effectively in your opening speech:

Spark Curiosity: Use a rhetorical question to spark curiosity about your topic. This question should be thought-provoking and relevant to your presentation.

“Have you ever stopped to wonder how much of your life is influenced by social media?”

Highlight Key Issues: A rhetorical question can help highlight the key issues or problems that your presentation aims to address. This will help your audience understand the importance of your topic.

“What would happen if our natural resources were to run out tomorrow?”

Encourage Reflection: Encourage your audience to reflect on their personal experiences or beliefs. This will make your presentation more relatable and engaging.

“How many of us truly understand the value of our mental health?”

Set the Tone: You can also use a rhetorical question to set the tone of your presentation, whether it’s serious, humorous, or contemplative.

“Is there anyone here who doesn’t love pizza?”

Remember, rhetorical questions are meant to stimulate thought, not to put anyone on the spot. Make sure your questions are relevant to your topic and are appropriate for your audience. With the right questions, you can grab your audience’s attention, keep them engaged, and guide their thinking throughout your presentation.

9. Leveraging Statistical Data in Your Opening Speech

Using statistical data in your opening speech is a powerful way to capture the audience’s attention and lend credibility to your message. Surprising or impactful statistics related to your presentation’s topic can instantly make your audience sit up and take notice. Here’s how you can incorporate statistical data effectively in your opening speech:

Relevant and Interesting Data: Choose statistics that are directly relevant to your topic and are likely to pique your audience’s interest. This data should enhance your message and provide valuable context for your presentation.

“Do you know that according to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting over 264 million people?”

Simplify Complex Data: If you’re presenting complex or dense data, make sure to simplify it for your audience. Use percentages, comparisons, or visual aids like infographics or charts to make the data easily understandable.

“Look at this chart. It represents the staggering 80% increase in cybercrime incidents over the past five years.”

Credible Sources: Always ensure your data comes from credible and reputable sources. This not only adds legitimacy to your presentation, but it also boosts your credibility as a speaker.

“According to a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Science, air pollution contributes to 1 in 8 deaths worldwide.”

Shocking or Surprising Data: If you have statistics that are surprising or counter-intuitive, they can be an excellent way to grab your audience’s attention and spark curiosity about your presentation.

“Can you believe that, according to the United Nations, we waste approximately 1.3 billion tons of food every year, while one in nine people worldwide go hungry?”

Using statistical data in your opening speech can help to highlight the significance of your topic, draw your audience in, and lay a solid foundation for the rest of your presentation. Remember to present your data in a clear, accessible way, and always cite your sources to maintain credibility.

10. Creating a Powerful Hook with Anecdotes and Quotations

Anecdotes and quotations can be a powerful tool in your opening speech, serving as hooks that draw your audience into your presentation. They can provide a human element to your topic, connect with your audience on an emotional level, and add depth to your message. Here’s how you can effectively incorporate anecdotes and quotations in your opening speech:

Relevant Anecdotes: Sharing a relevant anecdote, whether personal or related to your topic, can make your presentation more relatable and engaging. Your anecdote should be brief, interesting, and serve to illustrate a point related to your topic.

“When I was a teenager, my family’s home was destroyed by a fire. That experience ignited in me a passion for safety measures and awareness, which brings us to today’s topic: fire safety in residential areas.”

Inspiring Quotations: A well-chosen quote can add depth and perspective to your topic. It can inspire, provoke thought, or set the tone for your presentation. Presenting it with a visually appealing quote slide increases the chances to make a lasting impression. Make sure the quote is relevant to your topic and from a credible source.

“Albert Einstein once said, ‘The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.’ This leads us into our discussion today on the importance of mindset in personal development.”

Humorous Anecdotes or Quotations: Depending on the formality of the setting and the topic of your presentation, a funny anecdote or quote can help to relax the audience, making them more receptive to your message.

“Mark Twain once said, ‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’ As a fellow writer, I can relate to this sentiment, which brings us to our topic today: the art of concise writing.”

Remember, your anecdote or quote should serve to enhance your message, not distract from it. It should be interesting, relevant, and appropriately timed. With the right anecdote or quote, you can create a powerful hook that engages your audience from the outset.

11. Integrating Storytelling in your Opening Speech

Storytelling is a compelling method to make your opening speech memorable and engaging. A well-told story can create a strong emotional connection with your audience, making your presentation more impactful. Here’s how to effectively weave storytelling into your opening speech:

Choosing the Right Story: The story you tell should be relevant to your topic and capable of illustrating the point you’re trying to make. It could be a personal experience, a case study, or a historical event.

“Years ago, I worked on a project that, at the outset, seemed destined for success. But due to a lack of clear communication within the team, the project failed. Today, we will be discussing the importance of effective communication within teams.”

Creating Suspense: Build suspense in your story to hold your audience’s attention. You can do this by posing a problem or a conflict at the beginning of your story, which gets resolved by the end of your presentation.

“One day, as I was walking through a remote village in Africa, I came across a scene that profoundly changed my perspective. But before I reveal what it was, let’s discuss the issue of clean drinking water in underdeveloped countries.”

Showing, Not Telling: Make your story more vivid and engaging by showing, not telling. Use descriptive language and paint a picture with your words to make your audience feel like they’re part of the story.

“As the sun rose over the bustling city of Tokyo, I found myself in a small sushi shop tucked away in a quiet alley, experiencing what would become a pivotal moment in my culinary journey.”

Relatable Characters: If your story involves characters, make them relatable. Your audience should be able to see themselves in your characters, or at least understand their motivations and challenges.

“Meet Sarah, a single mother of two, working two jobs just to make ends meet. Her struggle is the reason we’re here today, to discuss the issue of minimum wage in our country.”

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can bring your presentation to life. A well-told story can captivate your audience, making your message more memorable and impactful. Be sure to select a story that aligns with your overall message and is appropriate for your audience.

12. Incorporating Interactive Elements in Your Opening Speech

Involving your audience from the get-go can make your presentation more engaging and memorable. By integrating interactive elements into your opening speech, you can foster a sense of participation and connection among your listeners. Here’s how you can do it:

Audience Polling: Modern presentation software often includes real-time polling features. You can ask your audience a question related to your topic and display the results instantly.

“To start, I’d like to ask you all a question. (Show poll on screen) How many of you think that Artificial Intelligence will significantly change our lives in the next ten years?”

Questions for Thought: Pose a thought-provoking question to your audience at the beginning of your speech. It can stimulate curiosity and get your listeners thinking about your topic.

“Before we delve into today’s topic, I want you to ponder this: what would you do if you had only 24 hours left to live? Keep that in mind as we discuss the importance of time management.”

Physical Engagement: Depending on the formality and size of your audience, you can incorporate physical engagement. This can range from a simple show of hands to engaging activities.

“By a show of hands, how many of you have ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the internet? That’s what we’ll be discussing today: information overload in the digital age.”

Interactive Quizzes: Quizzes can be a fun and interactive way to engage your audience and test their knowledge on your topic. It can also serve as a hook to introduce your topic. You can use a free Quiz PowerPoint template to ease the job of creating a quiz for your presentation.

“I have a quick quiz for you all (show quiz on screen). Let’s see who can guess the most common fear among adults. The answer will lead us into our topic of discussion today: overcoming fear.”

Remember, the goal of incorporating interactive elements is to engage your audience, so it should be relevant and add value to your presentation. Tailor your interactive elements to suit the needs and preferences of your audience, and you’ll have a winning opening speech.

What are the Objectives of Preparing a Good Introduction and Opening Speech?

As we mentioned earlier, the first minutes of your presentation are crucial to hook the audience and let them pay attention to the message you want to convey. This will depend on the type of presentation (if it is persuasive presentation, informative presentation or a presentation for entertaining the audience), but in general terms, when presenting we need to:

  • Capture the audience’s attention
  • Present information, opinions, ideas to the audience.
  • Present important details about a specific topic.
  • Sell an idea.
  • Make the information memorable so it can persist over the time.
  • Get your audience to take action, a Call to Action. E.g. purchase a product, enroll to something, fundraise, etc.

Real-Life Examples of Effective Opening Speeches

Barack Obama started his speech in the White House Correspondents’ Dinner saying: “You can’t say it, but you know it’s true.”

In same cases, humour can be a great companion for your speech. If you can use humour in a positive way, then getting a laugh in the first seconds of a presentation can get your audience hooked. It is a great way to open your speech.

Final Thoughts

Try to make habit of starting your presentation this way, it will sound great. You may come across several more opening speech examples for presentation but, once you implement this you yourself will realize that this is the best one. Alternatively you can learn more on quotes for presentations & speech topics  to use during your presentation in PowerPoint, learn how to close your presentation , or find other relevant speech introduction greeting examples.

49 comments on “ 12+ Opening Speech Examples for Presentations & Quick Tips ”

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Hi, I’m Gayathiri. I would like to thank you for giving such a helpful tips. I will defenitely use this tips in my speech/presentation.So, I hope my friends also use this tips for their presentation.

it was a good tip for us newbie on how to make a speech without any worries.

Thank you for your note and tip… It can change me to be a good student..

This article really helped me a lot for preparing a presentation.

this all very useful tips…can boost my confident during the presentation.thank you so much….

it’s very use helpful..thank you!

I need to view ths document

This was a good read. Thank you for the information.

Thank you for the information about the introduction during pesentation.Truely,i really need to study lot about how to start my presentation so that the audience are interesting to hear what i want to talk about and do not feel bored.

it’s is very usefull article that can use as our revision in upcoming for the next presentation.Thank you..

Thank you miss because of this article, it can help me on my next presentation.

thank you for this article,it’s useful to improve my presentation tasks.

this article has many tips for prepare to our presentation.thank you for sharing this article.

Thanks for the useful information. Can I ask how can I improve my self-confidence so as not to be embarrassed when presenting? Any idea? Thank you.

thank you..i’ll try to use those information for my presentation so i’ll be the best presenter in my class

this information very nice and useful to me.i get many new thing and tips after i read this article.this information can help me to make a good and better presentation later.thank you for useful information and meaningful for me

first of all, thank you for the help. there are a lot of great idea for me to use for my next presentation

Hi please i would like you to help me write an introduction for a speech about myself to my teacher

It’s help my presentation

Thank you so so much I will tell this at the UNIVERSITY presentation

please i really love your speech but can you please throw more light on the introduction

Hi every body I have entretien to USA Ambassi.

I need good presentation.

thank you so much for such a beneficial tips.

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opening speech examples for seminar

Global Conference Alliance Inc

Conference Opening Speech Example

We’ve all been there, sitting through a dull opening at a conference, waiting for the moment things get interesting. The beginning sets the tone; if it’s lackluster, it can affect the entire event.

Unfortunately, many forget the importance of that initial spark, leading to uninspired attendees and a less impactful conference. But imagine if the opening speech was so compelling that it captured the audience’s attention and set a dynamic tone for the whole event.

That’s where a well-crafted conference opening speech example comes into play. By drawing inspiration from a solid model, organizers can ensure they kick off their event on the right note, making it memorable and setting the stage for valuable sessions to follow.

Taking a Brief Look at the Conference’s Opening Speech

A conference opening speech is more than just a formality. It’s the pulse-setter, a tone-defining moment that can inspire or deflate. Crafting it requires insight, clarity, and precision.

The first words uttered at any conference bear the weight of anticipation. They serve as a mirror, reflecting the event’s ethos, aims, and expectations. Engage well, and you spark an energetic dialogue; falter and enthusiasm might wane.

Opening Speech of the Conferences- a Brief Overview

Successful opening remarks often blend the past, present, and future seamlessly. They recount previous achievements, detail current objectives, and paint visions ahead. This narrative arc ensures continuity and builds anticipation for what’s next.

Most reputable global conference organizer must ensure that the speech resonates with the audience, effectively bridging the gap between speakers and attendees. It’s more than just words; it’s a call to collective action, a gentle nudge towards shared goals. When crafted carefully, it becomes the heartbeat of the event, driving momentum and fostering engagement.

What Makes the Opening Speech Memorable?

The opening speech of any conference is its heartbeat. Its rhythm, tone, and pace can either captivate or lose the audience. So, what renders it unforgettable?

Emotional Resonance

Connecting emotionally strengthens any message delivered. An opening speech that taps into feelings will linger long in attendees’ minds. Evoking empathy, excitement, or motivation ensures engagement.

Clarity of Message

In the sea of words, clarity shines. A memorable speech delivers its core message without ambiguity or needless jargon. Simplicity paired with purpose often leaves a lasting impression.

Relevance to the Audience

Understand who listens; tailor the message accordingly. A speech that speaks directly to its audience’s interests and needs stands out. Personalized touches often differentiate routine speeches from memorable ones.

Compelling Narrative

Stories draw people in, providing context and color. By weaving a compelling narrative, the speech becomes more than just words. It transforms into an experience, capturing imagination and attention.

Authenticity and Passion

Genuine enthusiasm is infectious. A speech delivered with authenticity and enthusiasm captures hearts. When speakers believe in their message, their conviction becomes palpable, making the content memorable.

Setting the right tone at a conference’s commencement is pivotal. A compelling opening speech captivates and prepares the attendees for the journey ahead. Let’s explore five unique approaches.

1. The Inspirational Opener

“Good morning, everyone. Remember, every gathering like this has the potential to change our world. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together, believing in the power of collaboration.”

2. The Questioning Approach

“Have you ever wondered what drives innovation? As we congregate today, let’s explore that very curiosity, pushing boundaries and expanding our collective knowledge.”

3. The Reflective Start

“Years ago, when this conference first began, we had but a simple dream. Today, we’ve grown, learned, and evolved. Let’s celebrate our past and eagerly step into our future.”

4. The Challenge-Led Introduction

“In the face of pressing challenges, how do we respond? This conference aims to not just discuss but also design actionable solutions. Together, we’ll pave the path towards a brighter, better tomorrow.”

5. The Gratitude-Focused Beginning

“I stand before you, humbled and honored. Your presence, passion, and dedication make events like this possible. Let’s dive into these sessions, grateful for each shared insight and innovation.”

Perks of a Having Successful Opening Speech

An impactful opening speech isn’t mere rhetoric. It’s the catalyst that fuels conference engagement , setting the stage for everything to follow. Its benefits extend far beyond mere formalities.

Establishes a Positive Atmosphere

An eloquent and engaging opening speech casts a magnetic spell over the audience. It sets an enthusiastic and vibrant tone, ensuring attendees feel welcomed and valued.

Moreover, it can transform a room full of strangers into a unified assembly, ready to engage, share, and learn from the journey that lies ahead.

Promotes Networking and Builds Community

A compelling opener can help attendees find common ground or shared interests. When they resonate with the initial message, it becomes a conversation starter, promoting interpersonal interactions and networking.

As participants discuss the speech’s key points, a sense of community forms, enhancing collaborations and facilitating deeper connections throughout the conference.

Bolsters Speaker and Event Credibility

Opening with conviction and clarity sets a standard. It not only enhances the credibility of the speaker but also elevates the stature of the entire event.

With such a solid beginning, attendees are more likely to trust and value subsequent discussions, viewing them through a lens of respect and anticipation.

Sharpens Focus on Conference Objectives

A well-articulated opening speech reinforces the conference’s objectives, making them clear and prominent. This ensures that attendees grasp the core themes, aligning their participation accordingly.

As the event progresses, this clarity fosters a more cohesive and goal-oriented approach, ensuring the conference remains on track and achieves its intended outcomes.

Ensures Long-term Audience Engagement

When an event kicks off memorably, it captures and retains attention. Attendees, enthralled from the outset, are less likely to drift off or become passive observers.

This initial engagement not only boosts the success of the current event but also sows the seeds for future participation, ensuring a loyal and eager audience for subsequent editions.

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Tips for Writing a Successful Opening Speech

Tips for Writing a Successful Opening Speech

Crafting an opening speech is an art that marries content with delivery. It sets the stage, ensuring the audience’s captivation and setting the event’s tempo.

  • Know Your Audience : Understand your audience’s expectations and preferences. Tailoring your message to resonate with them ensures better engagement.
  • Embrace Storytelling : Narratives captivate human minds. Weave a relevant story into your speech, making your message memorable and relatable.
  • State Clear Objectives : Establish the purpose of your conference early. Providing clarity on objectives ensures attendees grasp the event’s essence quickly.
  • Inject Authenticity : Genuine passion and belief shine through words. Deliver your speech with authenticity, ensuring it’s heartfelt and sincere.
  • Avoid Overloading Information : Less often speaks more. Avoid cluttering your speech; focus on key messages to ensure clarity and maintain interest.
  • Engage with Rhetorical Devices : Questions, pauses, or metaphors can amplify impact. They not only enhance delivery but also facilitate better audience connection.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice : Even the best-written speech can falter without rehearsal. Familiarize yourself with content and refine delivery through multiple practices.
  • Seek Feedback : Before the main event, seek feedback. Colleagues or friends can offer valuable insights to polish and refine your speech.

Final Considerations

Crafting an effective conference opening speech is a delicate dance of precision, passion, and relevance. When done right, it transforms a gathering of individuals into a unified audience primed for engagement.

Drawing insights from a well-crafted conference opening speech example can be the linchpin to ensuring an event’s success. By focusing on elements like emotional resonance, audience relevance, and clear messaging, organizers can set a resonant tone that continues to echo throughout the conference.

As we’ve seen, an impactful beginning isn’t just about words; it’s about creating a shared experience, fostering community, and igniting a collective passion for the content to follow.

opening speech examples for seminar

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  • Welcome speech

How to write a welcome speech in 3 steps

With a printable welcome speech planner, outline and a sample welcome speech

By:  Susan Dugdale  

So, you've been asked to give a short welcome speech for an event. Congratulations! And now you want to be doubly sure you get it right. The right content. The right tone. Plus, the right length!

You'll find everything here you need to do that easily, from start to finish. 

Jump in. You are just three steps away from a completed welcome speech. Shall we start?

The fastest and best way to get your speech done is to:

  • skim read this page to get an overview of the speech writing process, ( the welcome speech template and the planner you're going to use), to  read the example welcome speech , and to find out more about the function of a welcome speech and the importance of its tone .
  • then download, print and complete the welcome speech planner .
  • and lastly, use the notes you made in the planner to write your welcome speech . To help with that, you can download and print the outline of my example welcome speech to use.  Edit, and add your information to make the speech your own.

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The welcome speech template

To be effective your welcome speech needs to meet expected, as well as any specific, requirements dictated by the occasion.

The 6 standard welcome speech content ingredients

A woman with a cookbook reading a welcome speech recipe. Plus, a list of ingredients.

There are six common or standard content items in a good welcome speech.

  • Greetings to welcome everyone and thanking them for coming along.
  • Acknowledgement of special guests, if there are any.
  • An introduction of the event itself and a brief overview of special highlights the audience will want to know about.
  • Any important housekeeping information, for instance: where the bathrooms are, where lunch will be served and when...
  • An introduction for the next speaker, if there is one.
  • Thanking everyone for coming once more and then concluding having made everybody feel at ease, eagerly anticipating what is to come.

Numbers 1, 3, and 6 are basic essentials you cannot do without. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 may, or may not, be applicable. Pick what you need from them to fit your occasion.

dividing line dark green

Short sample welcome speech for a conference 

Now let's put all six ingredients into an example of a short welcome speech to open a conference that you can adapt for your own speech.

* (This speech is pure fiction! I made it up to show you how it's done. You'll see its tone is formal rather than informal to fit the occasion. I don't think there is a group called Parents United. However, there are others with a similar mission: 10 Inspiring Organizations that Promote Literacy and Education .)  

Example welcome speech - "Readers by Right"

"Sue-Ellen Thomas, Jim Smith, Jane Brown and all of our guests, good morning!

My name is April Molloy, and it's my privilege and great pleasure on behalf of Parents United to welcome you all here today.

We are delighted to have you with us to participate and share in this special occasion, our 5th annual Children's Day Conference. Thank you for coming. That many of you have willingly traveled long distances to be here serves as a reminder to us all just how important our work is.

Quote extract: We want all children, regardless of race, creed or circumstance to achieve their full potential.

Parents United is committed to actively raising the quality of life for every child. We want all children, regardless of race, creed or circumstance to achieve their full potential. Our task is to make it possible. Our mission is to provide practical, step by step assistance.

This year our theme is literacy. We've named the day 'Readers by Right'.

Thanks to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we are aware of 'rights' in many spheres, including education.  Article 26 declared it should be compulsory and free for children.

That goal is as pertinent today as it was then. And it's a goal I know we all share - the full development of every child. As a body, Parents United recognizes good reading skills established in childhood as the foundation of fulfilling, and ongoing education.

Quote extract: Jim and Jane bring their passion and knowledge of how to reach those in our communities who are frequently overlooked or bypassed.

We are honored to have Sue-Ellen Thomas, Jim Smith and Jane Brown with us today. All three are esteemed specialists in teaching young children to read.

Sue-Ellen has worked for a long time with educational authorities to establish programs putting in place necessary pre-reading skills. Her hard work needs no introduction. The results speak for themselves.

Jim and Jane bring their passion, and knowledge of how to reach those in our communities who are frequently overlooked or bypassed. Their work among disadvantaged English-as-a-second-language families has bridged gaps that were deep dark chasms.

Prepare yourself to be challenged, excited and inspired.

And before I handover to Lesley Watts, our coordinator for 'Readers by Right', who will outline the day's various events, I want to say once more on behalf of the Parents United organizing committee, welcome. It's wonderful to see so many of you here." 

Get your welcome speech started

To shortcut wondering, "Should I say this?" or "Maybe I should say that?" and "Then again there's also ...", I have a very simple solution for you.

Get yourself a printable welcome speech planner

Illustration of an audience listening intently with text overlay saying: Click to download a welcome speech planner

Download and print my  special greeting address planner .

It covers ALL the necessary ingredients that go into preparing a successful welcome speech. It's simple to use and easily filled out. Once it's done, writing your speech will be a lot less hassle as you'll have the core content ready to work with.

Writing your welcome speech

Tips to help you get your speech right.

When you're entering information into your speech planner:

  • ensure you've got all the names of individuals or special guests you need to mention specifically and, that you know how to pronounce each of them. Also check that you know and use their preferred pronouns: them/they, she/her, he/him...
  • double check the remarks you're going to make about them, or anything else, are factually correct.

Use your introduction of your guests/or the event, as a "teaser" for what is going to come. It will help create anticipation in the audience. Don't ruin it by giving too much away! Just enough to tempt and no more.

Keep it brief. One to two minutes is generally sufficient.

(The word count of my sample welcome speech is 357. It will take approximately 2 minutes to say .) 

Use the S-S-S formula for success: Short, Simple and Sincere. Your listeners will appreciate it.

Infographic: SSS speech formula: simple, short and sincere

Get a printable welcome speech outline

If you would like to use and adapt the structure I used in my sample speech as the foundation for your welcome speech, click the link to download the printable: welcome speech outline .

Then edit; delete, amend and add, until you are done.

Illustration of an audience listening intently with text overlay saying: Click to download a welcome speech outline

Get a hand with vocabulary

If you're stuck for words, here's a large selection of  adaptable welcoming phrases with example s entences.  Reading through them could help you to find exactly what you want.

What does a good welcome speech do?

Audience members listening intently.

An effective welcome speech has three important functions. It:

  • signals the official beginning of an event . It says to the audience, hush, sit down, stop talking and listen. What you came for is starting!
  • sets the tone for the occasion through the choice of language used . For example, using light-hearted and informal words to welcome guests to a dear friend's birthday party may be completely appropriate.  However, the same type of language to welcome family and friends to a memorial service is unlikely to be. In that setting, people generally expect a more solemn and formal word choice. They could be deeply offended and think the use of casual language is disrespectful.  Understanding and getting tone right is a key element in the overall success of your welcome speech.  
  • unites the audience . It draws everyone together in the common purpose at the heart of the occasion. For example, at a birthday party, the welcome speech invites everyone to join in celebrating the person whose birthday it is. The welcome speech opening a specialist conference will affirm its principal purpose: the coming together of people with mutual interests to meet and share new knowledge. Or if a welcome speech is given to newcomers in a workplace, club or educational setting, its purpose is to give an introductory overview of how things work to help them feel more at ease in their new situation - to help them develop a sense of belonging.

Getting the tone right for an event

What is tone.

Tone is the combined impact of the words chosen to express something, with how they are structured and, delivered.  All three elements come together to create tone * . 

Get tone wrong, and your welcome speech is a disaster.

Get it right, and it's a triumph!

(Yes, that's hyperbole but I'm sure you get the idea. ☺)

* Tone - a mood, quality or feeling

How to choose the right words

The beginning of getting tone right is to think about your audience and the event itself. Your goal is to unite and bring them together in the main purpose at the core of the occasion. What type of language will do that most appropriately and easily?

Infographic illustrating the principal differences between formal and informal language to create tone

To answer that question, think about the common interest everybody shares - the principal reason behind them getting together.  It will help guide your language choice.

Is it a fun event like a birthday party for close friends and family? If so, then informal language is likely to be the most apt.

You might hear something along the lines of: "Well, here we all are! The big day has finally arrived. Jean-Marie is 50! Half a century! How on earth did that happen?"

If it's a remembrance service for someone who has recently died, the language you're likely to hear is more formal.

For example: "Friends, family, colleagues, thank you for joining us today to celebrate and give thanks for our dear Jean-Marie. Your presence is gratefully appreciated." 

What is appropriate? What is expected?  Do spend some time thinking tone through. Misunderstanding and getting it wrong can be very embarrassing for everyone. If in doubt, ask someone whose opinion you trust.

Related helpful pages

Help rehearsing your welcome speech.

Get  step by step instructions on how to rehearse  including how to make and use cue cards.

Image: Young man rehearsing his welcome speech.

And please do rehearse. It makes a huge difference! You'll sound, and look better. Taking the time to rehearse shows respect for yourself, the audience and the event. Truly.

Help to manage pre-speech jitters

Label: 14 ways to manage public speaking fear.

Nervous? If you're shaking in your boots at the thought of having to speak in front of an audience, click  overcoming public speaking fear  for assistance. Take your time. The page has 14 tried and tested suggestions to consider.

Help with other types of welcome speeches

Or perhaps you need  welcome to the family speeches   or a  church welcome speech sample ? Click the links to find easily adaptable examples.

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opening speech examples for seminar

Frantically Speaking

50 Speech Opening Lines (& How to Create Your Own) l The Ultimate Guide

Hrideep barot.

  • Public Speaking , Speech Writing

best speech opening line

Ask a million people how to start a speech with a bang and you will get a million different answers.

While some prefer to start their speech with the good old charm of a quote, others prefer to put on their hats of creativity to discover new ways to capture the attention of their audience.

So, yes! There’s not just one best way to start your speech with a bang but you have a whole spectrum of ways- each unique on its own!

Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and relax as I highlight 50 Powerful Speech Opening Lines from some of the World’s Most Influential Speeches along with guidance on how to use each of these techniques in your next speech/presentation.

Alright, let’s dive in!

How to Start your Speech/Presentation?

office presentation

The attention span of your audience is at its peak at the very beginning of your speech. Shouldn’t you use this to your advantage? Of course, yes!

A strong opening remark captures the attention of your audience, sets the theme of your speech, and most importantly, instills curiosity for the remainder of your speech in the minds of your audience.

Before we analyze each of these speech opening lines, let me provide you with a quick list of techniques (all of which we are going to discuss in great depth!) for you to start your speech/presentation:

  • 1. Don't just "Say!" Sing A Song

2. Uniqueness of An Unpopular Opinion

3. the power of a prop, 4. quest of a question, 5. hint of humor, 6. share a story, 7. surprise, surprise, surprise, 8. foster interest with facts.

  • 9. Let's Visualize with "Visuals"

10. Capture Interest with your Clothes

11. activity for the audience, 12. element of fear, 13. invite them into your imagination, 14. quintessential quality of a quote, 100 best speech opening lines (the ultimate resource), 1. don’t just “say” sing a song.

Singing song on stage

Now, you must be thinking that I’m crazy to even suggest this but hear me out.

Doing something entirely different on stage just makes you stand out from the usual crowd. Because let’s admit it, we expect the speaker to simply start talking and when the speaker does something different, it surprises us and makes us intrigued for the remainder of the talk.

Having said that, singing is any day a safer bet since we all love to swing by the music.

But, if you are not at all confident about your singing skills, don’t go for it! Instead, you can try channeling the power of poetry, something very similar to singing but still light on your vocal cords. Don’t be confused! We’ve written an entire article on Getting Your ‘Wordsworth’: Poetry in Public Speaking , just for you! Do check it out.

How to Use A Song as your Speech Opening?

Step 1: Pick a relevant yet famous song related to the theme of your speech/presentation

Step 2: Choose how you wish to use the song to present your point. Do you wish to agree with the lyrics? Or disagree with the lyrics?

Step 3: Pick a few lines (not more than 2-3 lines) that suits your theme the best

Step 4: Craft a statement to explain the connection of the song with the topic of your speech/presentation

Step 5: What are you waiting for? Go ahead, warm up your vocal cords, and start singing

Examples of Speeches that Used Songs as Speech Openings

1. it is okay not to have a plan by mithila palkar.

(Sings the Song) “Some of you must have seen the video of this song online, and I’ll tell you the story of how I made it.” Mithila Palkar

Budding Indian Actress and Singer, Mithila Palkar started her TED Talk by singing a Marathi Song, a song that went viral on the internet and made her famous.

Instead of simply talking about how she marked the transition from a viral singing star to a renowned actress, she made her audience live her journey by singing the exact same song.

Two things happened here:

  • Most of the audience members were able to recognize the song, which in turn, established her credibility as a speaker
  • The song hooked the audience from the very beginning of her talk

No matter how much we deny it, humans are judgemental beings!

We have expectations for every single thing on this planet and when someone challenges these expectations, we’re left shocked.

And as a result, they’ve all our attention. That is exactly my mantra here, “Shock the audience to get their attention!”

shocked face

How to Use An Unpopular Opinion as your Speech Opening?

Step 1 : Ask yourself, “Who is my audience?” Look for the basic information on their average age, level of education, pre-conceived notions, and cultural background. Still confusing, right? The Importance of Knowing Your Audience When Delivering a Speech is an article that carries the step-by-step guide, just for you.

Step 2 : Based upon this audience analysis, figure out their set expectation regarding the topic you are about to deliver your speech on.

Step 3 : Shred that expectation by challenging that set expectation in your opening remark. Remember not to be offensive and play by the rule of your moral compass

Examples of Speeches that Used Unpopular Opinions As Opening Remarks

1. grit: the power of passion and perseverance by angela lee duckworth.

“ When I was 27 years old, I left a very demanding job in management consulting for a job that was even more demanding: teaching “ Angela Lee Duckworth

When using this strategy in your speech, it’s critical that you do your research so that you can come up with an unpopular viewpoint on the subject.

Present that unpopular viewpoint as your introductory words, and then gradually (it must be a progressive process) lead your audience to the realization, which is your speech’s main goal. Just like this speaker did!

props and placards

Visuals overpower our auditory senses! Why not use it to the best of our advantage?

As our immediate reflex, we first see and then, listen. Bringing a unique prop/placard onto the stage would intrigue the audience even before you “actually” start speaking.

Without any further delay, let’s discuss the steps to use props/placards the right way.

How to Use A Prop/Placard as your Opening Remark?

Step 1: Prepare a list of props/placards that resonate the best with the theme of your speech/presentation. Don’t just bring anything on the stage!

Step 2: From this list, remove the generic options. For instance, if you are delivering a speech on environmental conservation, bringing a plastic bag on stage is too generic and won’t instill curiosity in the audience’s minds

Step 3: Now, out of all the relevant props/placards, which one do you think is the most convenient and affordable to bring on the stage? And, you have your answer!

Step 4: Once you have decided on the prop, craft a statement to establish the connection between the prop and the theme of your speech

Examples of Speeches that Used Props As Opening Remarks

1. why i live a zero waste life by lauren singer.

(brings a jar filled with waste and speaks) “This is all of the trash that I’ve produced in the past 3 years!” Lauren Singer

When you witness the speaker, Lauren, showcasing a jar filled with all of the trash that she has produced in the past three years, you can’t help wonder, “Is this for real?”

Because even the packaging of all the junk food items that we consume every week can easily overflood this jar.

Taking advantage of this embedded curiosity, Lauren structured the rest of her talk talking about all of the steps that she takes to lead a zero-waste life.

2. Plus-size? More Like My Size By Ashley Graham

(stands in front of a mirror and speaks) “You are bold, you are brilliant and you are beautiful. There is no other woman like you. You are capable…” Ashley Graham

Breaking the norms of a traditional speech, Ashley Graham, instead of staring at the audience, stares at a mirror and speaks a few lines on self-affirmation.

Let’s admit it, most of us are critical of our own bodies, and standing in front of a mirror, we tend to focus upon all the possible flaws.

To set an example of positive self-affirmation, Ashley Graham takes upon herself to set an example with the help of a live exercise.

3. 25 Chemistry Experiments in 15 Minutes By Andrew Szydlo

*does chemistry experiments* Andrew Szydlo

Watch this TED Talk and I’m sure you’ll find all the presence, of all those chemical equipment on stage, fascinating!

When the audience witnesses the efforts you are taking to deliver your talk, they are impressed and trust me, you are halfway there at capturing the attention of your audience.

Now, of course, it doesn’t mean that you put all your heart and soul into getting that perfect prop on stage.

If it’s not feasible, don’t! But if you can, that’s a great way to win your audience!

4. I See Something By Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

*smells flower* Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

In the previous example, we saw how bringing a grand prop captures the attention of our audience.

But the power of a prop goes WAY beyond this!

When a simple prop is connected with a meaningful yet unique message, the impact manifolds.

In this TED Talk, the speaker uses a rose to explain how each individual is unique in terms of his personality. A powerful message is delivered with the use of a simple prop.

A tried and tested trick that psychologists swear by to awaken the distracted minds is to “shoot a question”.

You could do that too in your next speech/presentation.

asking questions

How to Use A Question As An Opening Remark?

Step 1: Think of all the questions that can help you to set the theme of your speech

Step 2: Make a point to not include close-ended questions and questions that are simply TOO GENERIC

Step 3: The last element that your question must include is the element of curiosity. The purpose is to make the audience curious enough to listen to your entire speech looking for answers to that question. But while you are at it, make sure you don’t overpromise and your speech does have the answers to that question.

Examples of Speeches that used Questions as Opening Remarks

1. every argument against veganism by ed winters.

“So, when I say the word ‘Vegan’ to you, what do you think of?” Ed Winters

Just by hearing this question, our first thought is to run all the possible definitions of veganism and the audience of this speech did the same.

This question is very clever and I’ll tell you why. So, every time a definition would come into the mind of any audience member, the speaker would be presenting his arguments against veganism forcing the audience to align their thoughts with his thought process.

Without any possible digression, the speaker Ed Winters presents his thoughts on Veganism in a convincing manner with the help of the rhetoric of questions.

Now, this type of question sends the audience on a possible quest for answers but that’s not the only purpose that this technique serves. Next in order, let’s look at how questions set the theme of a speech.

2. Why Do We Ask Questions? By Michael “Vsauce” Stevens

“What is the best type of cheese to use to catch a bear?” Michael “Vsauce” Stevens

In this TED Talk, the speaker uses this technique as a rhetorical question and answers this question with the help of a cheese pun.

Moving ahead, he goes on unearthing the science behind asking questions. So, it only made sense for him to begin his speech with a question too to set the overall vibe and theme of the topic.

3. Marriage Material By Nina Donovan

“So from a glance, do I look like marriage material?” Nina Donovan

In this TED Talk, we shall discover the strength of an interrogative remark in generating curiosity regarding the theme of your speech.

Since time immemorial, society has been setting “so-called” norms to determine if an individual is a potential marriage material (mostly, in the case of women).

To fit under this category of “marriage material”, one has to behave as per the so-called expectations of the society, and anything that defies the norm fails to fit in.

With the help of her powerful voice, the speaker here challenges the notion of this concept of “Marriage Material” and highlights the importance of individuality.

And by asking if the audience perceives her as marriage material, she surprises the audience while cultivating a sense of curiosity in them.

4. After watching this, your brain will not be the same By Lara Boyd

“So how do we learn? And why do some of us learn things more easily than others?” Lara Boyd

Admit it or not- we’ve always wondered why some people learn things better than us. What exactly is their secret?

And when you throw this question at the audience, they become intrigued to know this very secret with the help of your talk.

Curiosity is what makes us stick to the remainder of any talk. So, it’s high time we channelize it!

5. The Value of Asking Questions By Karen Maeyens

“Do you know the people that are asked the most questions? Have A Guess!” Karen Maeyens

An open-ended thought-provoking question like this forces the audience to activate their minds in the search for answers.

As they become more active, they listen better and focuses better on what you have to offer.

When Karen asked her audience who are the people that are asked the most questions, different minds pondered different answers and when she herself answered the question, those who thought of different answers were intrigued to listen to her justification and as a result of this, they stuck by!

6. Two Easily Remembered Questions that Silence Negative Thoughts By Anthony Metivier

“How would you like to completely silence your mind?” Anthony Metivier

We, humans, have restless minds- always pondering over something or the other.

So, what’s likely to happen when someone asks us if we would like to silence our minds? Ironically, we’ll be restless to know the answer. That’s what the speaker did through his TED Talk.

The next time you are giving a speech, you can consider opening it with a question that would result in a similar effect of restlessness in the minds of the audience.

For this to truly happen, make sure that your question is not generic. Otherwise, all your efforts will be in vain.

laughing faces

Ain’t we tired of listening to the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine”?

I’m sure we all are but the reason why it’s still so prevalent is because of its universality.

Of course, laughter is the best medicine to an opening remark too. It makes your audience laugh and who doesn’t love a good laugh? We all do!

Humor puts the minds at ease and makes you sound more human, because of which, the audience perceives you as a credible speaker.

How to Use Humor In An Opening Remark?

Step 1: Know your audience well. Your joke must resonate with them so as to make the desired impact. For instance, if you are addressing a school crowd and you make a joke about workplace communication mistakes. It won’t make the audience chuckle, would it?

Step 2: Puns? Self-deprecating humor? Or Funny Anecdotes? Identify the types of humor and figure out which one suits your personality in the best way. If you are not sure what types of humor are there and wish to seek a step-by-step guide on including humor in your presentation, make sure you read A Guide To Using Humor In Your Speech . Remember to choose the type of humor in alignment with your personality otherwise, it will look forced and won’t result in the impact you desired

Step 3: Step out and do a pilot survey! Try out the opener on a few folks who are similar to your target audience. Examine their reaction and, if required, adjust the joke

Step 4: Keep in mind that once you begin your speech with a pinch of humor, your audience will be expecting a few moments of laughter throughout the rest of your speech too. So, make sure you save 2-3 jokes (not more than that) for the remainder of your speech to meet those expectations

Examples of Speeches that used Humor in Opening Remarks

1. thoughts on humanity, fame and love by shah rukh khan.

“I’m a movie star. I’m 51 years of age. And I don’t use Botox as of yet.” Shah Rukh Khan

This TED Talk right here is the perfect case in point for you to witness all the four steps to humor (as discussed in the previous section) in action.

Known for his great performance in doing justice to a number of family roles in Bollywood films, the actor Shah Rukh Khan, in his TED Talk used the power of humor to make himself sound more human to align his talk with his perceived personality.

A humorous take on the drug, Botox, not only relates to the speaker’s professional credibility but also established the relatability quotient.

2. Ellen DeGeneres’ 86th Oscars Opening

“It’s been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We’re fine. Thank you for your prayers.” Ellen DeGeneres

Two lessons on humor can be perfectly drawn from this talk:

  • Make sure you include humor when the event calls for it in its truest sense.

Since Ellen DeGeneres was hosting the Oscars Opening Ceremony, nobody expected her to be all serious in terms of her talk. The audience is expecting a more relaxed and chill vibe from the speaker.

So, starting her talk with a piece of humor not only sounded like a safer bet but also the most effective one.

  • Humor must align with the personality of the orator

What’s the thought that comes to your mind when you listen to the name, “Ellen DeGeneres”? I’m sure for most of us, it’s someone who’s great at presenting her opinions in a convincing manner with the help of comedy.

And that’s what you expect from her personality: Humor!

3. How Indian Parents Make You Tougher By Hasan Minhaj

“Do you know when brown kids get slapped? Every brown birthday party.” Hasan Minhaj

The element of surprise won’t work if your audience is familiar with what you are about to tell them.

So, make sure that you are addressing the right element of surprise to the right audience to make them chuckle. And Hasan Minhaj did it absolutely right!

In this TED Talk, Hasan Minhaj told a piece of surprising cultural information about Indian teens to the American Audience and not the Indian Audience (because they will be familiar with it and it won’t be a shock).

4. The Clues to A Great Story By Andrew Stanton

“A tourist is backpacking through the highlands of Scotland, and he stops at a pub to get a drink. And the only people in there is a bartender and an old man nursing a beer. And he orders a pint, and they sit in silence for a while. And suddenly, the old man turns to him and goes, “You see this bar? I built this bar with my bare hands from the finest wood in the county, gave it more care and love than my own child. But do they call me McGregor the Bar Builder? No.” Points out the window. “You see that stone wall out there? I built that stone wall with my bare hands. Found every stone, placed them just so through the rain and the cold. But do they call me McGregor the Stone Wall Builder? No” Points out the other window. “You see that pier on the lake out there? I built that pier with my bare hands, drove the pilings against the tide of the sand, plank by plank. But do they call me McGregor the pier builder? No. But you fuck one goat…” Andrew Stanton

When humor is combined with effective storytelling, a great laugh is expected from the intrigued minds sitting in the audience.

Remember how we used to tell small anecdotes as kids while telling any joke? That’s what needs to be done here.

Build up the curiosity with the help of a story and end that story by bringing in an element of surprise to make your audience chuckle. Unexpected humor is always welcome!

We’ve all grown up listening to bedtime stories.

As we approached our teenage years and adulthood, we switched to narrating anecdotes from our lives to our friends, family, and colleagues.

In a nutshell, it’s the stories that connect us and will continue to serve this very purpose.

Hence, it’s only fair for us to channel this magic of storytelling into our public speaking events as well.

How to Narrate A Story in An Opening Remark?

Step 1: Pick a story from your life or narrate something that happened to someone you know or simply form a gripping story. Whatever it might be, just make sure you are not exaggerating to come off as a relatable speaker. Most importantly, the story you choose has to be related to the theme of your speech

Step 2: Now that you have the story in mind, pick a narrative to design the structure of your story. Wait, don’t know what storytelling narrative structures are? Read 9 Storytelling Approaches For Your Next Speech or Presentation to know different ways to effectively narrate a story

Step 3: Use simple language while writing your story and be descriptive enough to help them imagine. Keep in mind that your audience should relate and it’s possible only when they can understand your story in its truest sense

Examples of Speeches that used Stories As Opening Remarks

1. life begins at the end of your comfort zone by yubing zhang.

“It’s a cold and foggy winter morning and I’m standing on the world’s tallest bungee platform. The platform I’m standing on is so tiny that I’ve to stand on my toes and balance myself against the wind…” Yubing Zhang

While highlighting how stepping out of one’s comfort zone is crucial, the speaker narrates a personal anecdote of her bungee-jumping experience.

To form a connection with the overall theme, she goes on to narrate how one bungee cord leap taught her the biggest lesson of her life.

Through the remainder of her talk, she then focuses upon sharing her lessons and guidance on how one can step out of his/her comfort zone to facilitate personal growth.

2. How to Figure Out What You Really Want By Ashley Stahl

“It was 2:45 pm on a rainy friday in Los Angeles. My dad was just brewing a cup of coffee in the kitchen when he answered a call from an unknown number…” Ashley Stahl

While the previous example on storytelling taught us to build a connection with the overall theme of our speech, this TED Talk by Ashley Stahl teaches the significance of body language and voice modulation in effective storytelling.

Observe how she narrates this story with effective pauses and uses inflection to create a sense of drama and suspense.

That’s something we all should keep in consideration while narrating any story.

Storytelling is only effective when conveyed properly with the help of facial expressions, body language, and vocal tonality. This is all done to appeal to the sentiments of the audience because eventually, it is what will make our talk all the more persuasive.

3. How “SHE” became an IAS Officer By Surabhi Gautam

“My story starts from a small, sleepy village of Madhya Pradesh with a population of barely a thousand people…” Surabhi Gautam

You don’t necessarily have to focus all your energy on writing your story with a proper build-up.

If you are using a story to build your credibility as a speaker as well as intrigue your audience, one simple way could be to just begin your speech with something as simple as, “My story starts from…”

Just like this speaker did!

Nothing fancy, nothing over the board but still manages to captivates the interest of the audience because of the following reasons:

  • She communicates in the language of people by using simple words
  • Starting with something like, “My story starts from…” sent an indication that she’s about to narrate the story of her life and as a matter of fact, we all are intrigued naturally to listen to different people’s life stories

4. Speaking Up Without Freaking Out By Matt Abrahams

“Panic. Embarassed. Exposed. No, that’s not how I’m feeling right now. Those are the feelings I had when I was a fourteen year old boy…” Matt Abrahams

Let’s be honest for a moment- we all have been through the feeling of “Panic, Embarrassed, Exposed” (just how Matt puts it) when asked to speak on stage.

By narrating a story that most of the audience members can relate to, Matt won the hearts of a majority of his audience members and established his credibility as a speaker.

5. The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything By Josh Kaufman

“Two years ago my life changed forever. My wife and I welcomed our daughter Lela in the world…” Josh Kaufman

“This has been the turning point of my life”

How do you feel when someone says something like this to you? Intrigued to know more?

This is the power that the speaker used here. He narrated a story of how being a parent changed his life and eventually, relates this experience to the topic of his speech, which to be honest, is fascinating to witness!

6. The Happy Secret to Better Work By Shawn Achor

“When I was seven years old and my sister was just five years old, we were playing on top of a bunk bed. I was two years older than my sister at the time — I mean, I’m two years older than her now — but at the time it meant she had to do everything that I wanted to do, and I wanted to play war. So we were up on top of our bunk beds. And on one side of the bunk bed, I had put out all of my G.I. Joe soldiers and weaponry. And on the other side were all my sister’s My Little Ponies ready for a cavalry charge. There are differing accounts of what actually happened that afternoon, but since my sister is not here with us today, let me tell you the true story –“ Shawn Achor

A descriptive story narrated using stylistic language has the strength to move the audience and immerse them into a fictional world.

In terms of storytelling, this technique is by far the most effective yet simplest way.

It’s commonly used while giving out persuasive speeches as it helps the speaker to align the audience’s thoughts with the speaker’s point of view. That’s what Shawn did through the help of his childhood story.

Of course, we all love surprises. Who doesn’t, right?

So, here’s a crazy idea! Why not surprise your audience with your opening remark?

Here’s how you can do so.

How to Surprise your Audience through your Opening Remark?

Option 1: Go up on that stage, say something totally unexpected and blow the minds! Now, your job doesn’t end here. Once you are done speaking your opening remark, provide your audience as to why you said what you said and what more are you going to offer through the rest of your content. Look at the first example in the next section to see its application.

Option 2: Another thing that you can do is to tell your audience something completely unknown related to the topic of your speech. Something that would make them go like, “Wait, what?” You can either present a shocking piece of information, an unknown taboo of that culture, or even a shocking habit of that cultural population.

Option 3: Tell something unknown not about the culture you are talking about but about yourself. We as humans are always attracted to gossip about other people’s lives. Of course, the audience would be interested in knowing something shocking about your life. But through the content of your speech, do remember to build that connection with your speech.

Examples of Speeches that Surprises its Audience through its Opening Remarks

1. how to start a speech by simon lancaster.

“Who wants to get high? Yeah, you up for some? Should we really get this party started?” Simon Lancaster

Who comes up on stage and asks the audience, “Who wants to get high?”

It’s purely unexpected and shocking!

But in this TED Talk, as the speaker focuses upon highlighting the steps to crafting a strong opening remark (just like we are discussing at this moment), he took it upon himself to use this very element of surprise to capture the audience’s attention.

2. Why I Don’t Use A Smart Phone By Ann Makosinski

“The last time I used a flip phone was 3 hours and 24 minutes ago.” Ann Makosinski

Now, after listening to her opening remark, do you want to know why is she still using a flip phone in the 21st Century? (At least, I do)

And that is the strength of a strong opening remark.

After generating this needed curiosity in the minds of her audience, the speaker focused the remainder of her talk telling these reasons to the audience, one by one.

So, yes! We can safely say that starting our speech with an unpopular opinion is an elegant yet simple way to kick-start our speech.

3. How to Control Emotion and Influence Behavior By Dawn Goldworm

“I can control your emotions and influence your behaviour without showing you anything, without touching you and without saying a word to you.” Dawn Goldworm

Hearing this opening remark is not just shocking but scary too!

I’m sure, just like me, you wish to unearth this secret to control and influence behavior so that you can control minds too.

It’s natural for you to listen to the remainder of the talk for this sole reason.

This way, capturing the attention of her audience was made easy for the speaker, Dawn Goldworm.

4. Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable By Luvvie Ajayi Jones

“I’m a professional troublemaker!” Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Listening to this opening remark, “what is your reaction?”

Are you thinking how exactly is she a troublemaker just like me? If yes, then the speaker has successfully inculcated this curiosity in us.

But what we all are also wondering is what does that have to do with the theme and the speaker does establish this connection in her follow-up statement right after her opening remark.

So, make sure the next time you are out there presenting a shocking remark, do follow it up with context, always.

5. How to Spot A Liar By Pamela Meyer

“Okay now, I don’t want to alarm anybody in this room, but it’s just come to my attention that the person to your right is a liar. Also, the person to your left is a liar.” Pamela Meyer

While delivering a TED Talk on “How to Spot A Liar”, Pamela begins by spotting a few liars from the audience itself making everyone think, “How did she do that?”

And naturally, with minimum efforts, she lured her audience in to listen to her entire talk as she unfolds different ways in which we all can spot a liar.

6. The Art of Being Yourself By Caroline McHugh

“So, the chances are you have looked in at least one mirror today. You’ve had a shave or you combed your hair or maybe you checked your teeth for spinach after lunch, but what you didn’t know is the face that you’re looking at is not the face that everyone sees.” Caroline McHugh

A shocking way to surprise your audience is to simply begin with some obvious observations and follow them up with a unique observation about the very same things- leaving them surprised by catching them completely off-guard.

To get better at this technique, draw some inspiration from this TED Talk by Caroline McHugh as she does a similar thing.

It is so far the easiest way to start your speech with a bang!

Present a fact to elicit the shock value in the minds- be it positive or negative.

But incorporating the right fact in the right way is an art in itself. Let’s dive right into it!

How to Use Facts as your Opening Remark?

First things first, make sure that your fact is not too generic. It has to be shocking in one way or the other to grip the audience’s attention.

Step 1: Present the fact using simple language. Avoid using technical terms here.

Step 2: Take a pause, give the audience a moment to ponder over it (But don’t wait for TOO LONG!). Next, present an extension of that fact, if you have any, or simply break down the fact by telling the audience how does this fact affects them. Give them the reasons.

Examples of Speeches that used Facts as its Opening Remarks

1. can we not let our breakups break us by tasha jackson.

“I want you all to know that you are loved because today we can be surrounded by so many people but feel profoundly alone. 68% of Gen Z feels like nobody knows them. An average American has only one close friend and one in four feels like no one.” Tasha Jackson

While presenting facts, it’s important that we go from covering a larger umbrella to the smaller one

This way, the audience knows the exact way in which they are getting affected by this piece of information.

That’s exactly how the speaker, Tasha, rolled her TED Talk.

Once the audience was aware of the intensity of how breakups are affecting each one of them, they were all the more intrigued to know how they can not let breakups affect them to such a drastic extent.

It is this incentive that made the listeners pay attention to her talk as she unfolded all the solutions to this, one by one.

2. How to Increase Love in Your Relationship By Jonathan Ljungqvist

“In Sweden, where I come from, we have 40 thousand marriages a year and each year we have around 20 thousand divorces.” Jonathan Ljungqvist

Create the illusion of an audience poll with your piece of fact, just like this speaker did in his TED Talk.

After highlighting the drastic extent of failed marriages in Sweden, Jonathan took a pause to let that information sink in and in his follow-up statement, he started shooting a few questions at the audience.

After waiting for a few seconds (2-3 seconds is the ideal time duration to wait), Jonathan answered and highlighted the problem at hand.

This made the audience respect and agree with his fact, all the way more.

Through the remainder of his talk, he then went on highlighting the steps to increase love in any relationship.

3. I See Dead People: Dreams and Visions of the Dying By Dr. Christopher Kerr

“I read a recent survey, and what Americans fear most is public speaking and dying.” Dr. Christopher Kerr

How do we perceive death as an individual? It’s a question that most of us have a unique answer to.

In an attempt to establish the relevance of his topic, the speaker uses a fact that highlights how feared death is.

It’s what capitalized the attention of the audience and forced them to listen to what different perspectives he had to offer on the topic from a medical standpoint.

4. Saudi Arabia: Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

“Saudi Arabia has been engulfed in a massive diplomatic crisis over the gruesome killing of Washingto Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi” Hasan Minhaj

Now, stating facts doesn’t mean that you just go on telling statistical figures. It also includes different pieces of information, particularly news events!

In this talk, Hasan Minhaj recalls one such news event to set the theme of his talk.

Recalling news events makes our talk relevant while establishing the context. It signifies that as a speaker you are up-to-date with the information that you have to offer. So, the audience looks forward to hearing a talk devoid of redundancies.

5. Can We Not Let Our Breakups Break Us By Tasha Jackson

We live in a world where dating is the equivalent of buying a new pair of shoes.

Very often, with each dating experience comes the trauma of heartbreaks. As the speaker in this TED Talk rightly said, “breakups break us”.

But how to overcome it has always been a flaming question, particularly among the teens.

But to bring to light the intensity and ever-increasing prevalence of the situation, the speaker took the help of the statistics.

6. Teach Every Child About Food By Jamie Oliver

“ Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat. “ Jamie Oliver

Here, while throwing light upon an alarming issue (hunger), the speaker considered presenting harrowing stats to get that desired ‘concerned mood’.

Similarly, when you wish to highlight an opportunity (say, the positive side of social media), present positive stats showcasing the success of people through social media.

9. Let’s Visualize with “Visuals”

Visuals are always gripping and easy on our minds.

Show respect towards your audience by giving them a needed break from the monotony of “just listening”.

Be a respite and engage them through the power of visuals for a change. Here’s exactly how you can do this.

How to Connect Visuals with your Opening Remark?

Step 1: Get in touch with the tech team of your public speaking event and see if the needed technical support is there to facilitate the screening of an image/video.

Step 2: Now, find a visual interesting enough to arise the curiosity but not too generic to make it too predictable for the audience- all related to your theme.

Step 3: Craft a short, concise, and to-the-point follow-up statement to explain the relevance of that visual using simple language.

Examples of Speeches that used Visuals as Opening Remarks

1. don’t believe everything you think by lauren weinstein.

*shows picture of an elephant.* Lauren Weinstein

In this TED Talk, Lauren draws a beautiful comparison between elephants and the nature of humans by showcasing a few visuals.

She does this through the use of storytelling. Narrating how despite all the strength an elephant has, it doesn’t attempt to break its chains of captivity.

After establishing this, she goes on to connect this act with the thesis of her speech, that is, how one should not always believe everything they think.

What we can take away from this TED Talk is, when visuals are effectively supported by storytelling and the rhetoric of drawing comparison, the impact increases manifold.

2. The History of Our World in 18 Minutes By David Christian

*plays a video about scrambled eggs* David Christian

In this unique TED Talk, David Christian explains the origin of the history of our world through the video of a scrambled egg. Unique, isn’t it?

That is exactly what we need to learn here.

We don’t necessarily need to find a visual that directly relates to the theme of our speech. Instead, we can go for a visual that we can use as an aid to explain a similar topic, that is, the theme of our speech.

3. How Breathing and Metabolism are Interconnected By Ruben Meerman

*shows image of himself in the sea* Ruben Meerman

This TED Talk right here is an example of how you can establish a direct correlation between the visual and your topic- all through the use of storytelling.

Ruben Meerman began his speech by showing a few pictures of himself to talk about his health transformation.

When the audience witnessed the transformation right in front of their eyes, they were curious to know the secret behind it so that they can apply it to their respective lives.

That’s the power of a gripping visual!

YES! You read it right.

No matter how shallow it sounds but the outfit is the first thing we notice every time a speaker walks up that stage.

And if you are dressed differently than the rest of the speakers, you naturally capture the eyes of your audience.

By this, I don’t mean that you go to a branded store and buy the most expensive outfit from there and wear it for your event. What I mean is to put serious thought into deciding what to wear for your event.

Ideally, one should go for an outfit that is unique yet related to the theme of your speech but doesn’t hurt the dress code of the event too. Here’s how.

How to Connect Clothes with your Opening Remark?

Step 1: The most basic step is to check with the admin if there is any particular dress code that the speakers need to adhere to. If not, feel free to put on your hat of creativity by following the next steps

Step 2: Pick an outfit that connects with the theme of your speech but is still unique enough for the audience to go like, “Wait, what outfit is this?”

Step 3: Go on the stage wearing that outfit, take a pause, let the audience wonder. After a meaningful silence of 2-3 seconds, start speaking. Open up by telling the audience the significance of the outfit that you are wearing

Examples of Speeches that Connect Clothes with Opening Remarks

1. we are all different- and that’s awesome by cole blakeway.

(comes on stage weaing two different pair of socks and shoes) “Hi, my name is Cole and over the next few minutes, I’m going to teach you that it’s okay to be different. Since a young age, I’ve worn different colored socks and two different shoes.” Cole Blakeway

Fascinating opening remark, isn’t it?

Something as simple as wearing different pairs of socks can instill curiosity and help the speaker make his point, “we all are different”.

Since biblical times, we as humans try to fit in different situations. Be it a workplace, college, or even a social gathering for that matter.

In this TED Talk, Cole attempts to shed light on the lesson of embracing our true selves and how there’s nothing wrong with being different.

The tone of such a powerful talk was set just by wearing different pairs of socks.

2. Looks aren’t Everything. Believe me, I’m a Model By Cameron Russell

(switches to a different outfit and speaks) “This is the first outfit change on the TED Stage, so you guys are pretty lucky to witness it, I think.” Cameron Russell

Of course, the traditional way to pull this technique off is to come on stage wearing a unique outfit.

But Cameron Russell finds her very own unique way of a live outfit change wherein she brings a wrap-around skirt and wears over her dress to make a simple point that appearance is not everything, it goes way beyond that.

Seeing a model by profession mark this unlikely outfit transition made the audience trust her thesis all the way more.

They say that communication is a two-way street.

Yet, more often than not, we forget to keep this in mind during all the public speaking events.

We tend o go on speaking and speaking. While sometimes we manage to keep the audience interested, the rest of the time we simply bore the audience to sleep.

To save you here, an easy bet is to organize an activity for your audience towards the very beginning of your speech.

How to Connect An Audience Activity with your Opening Remark?

Step 1: Familiarize with your audience. What’s the average age of your audience? What’s their educational and work background? Getting these basic details will help you structure an activity that would ensure maximum participation from them. For instance, if you are addressing a bunch of school students, your activity can involve more physical exercises and less mental exercise. Also, ask yourself, “What is the size of my audience?” This will help you decide on the extent of interactivity.

Step 2: Find an activity that is not too basic. Your activity should make the audience curious about your content. Something that makes the audience wonder, “What does this activity have to do with the theme?” But then they are left amazed as soon as you begin to connect the relevance of the activity with your speech.

Step 3: Don’t make it TOO LONG! Keep it short and sweet.

Step 4: Write a vivid description of the steps involved in the activity so that the audience is not left confused about what to do.

Examples of Speeches that Used Audience Activities as Opening Remarks

1. are you a giver or a taker by adam grant.

“I want you to look around the room for a minute and try to find the most paranoid person here and then I want you to point that person out for me. (waits and then says) Okay, don’t actually do it.” Adam Grant

Given that Adam’s audience was comprised of more adults, he made them perform a mental exercise as it’s most likely for them to participate in a mental exercise rather than expecting them to move up their seats to do something.

And that’s what happened. The audience participated! Because all they had to do was simply move their heads around to find out a paranoid person.

Most importantly, the activity wasn’t too generic for the audience for them to predict its relevance. So, it made them curious enough to listen to the remainder of Adam’s TED Talk to witness him unravel its relevance.

2. Girl Up: The Secrets to an Extraordinary Life By Courtney Ferrell

“Okay, I need a favor. I need all the girls who are between the age of 17 and 24 to stand up.” Courtney Ferrell

Audience Matters! I know, I’ve been saying this A LOT but it’s the key to a great speech opening.

Even in this TED Talk, the speaker made all the girls between the age group of 17 to 24 stand up since she knew that more than 50% of her audience would stand up.

It’s a win-win situation, I’ll tell you how.

When Courtney confessed that she’s about to tell the secret to channel the creative spirit of women and how to empower them.

Those who stood up felt directly connected to the theme and the rest were curious enough to know the secret to see if it can benefit them or someone they know.

3. What It’s Like To Grow Up Desi in 2019 By Hasan Minhaj

“Alright, real quick- say your full name and then say the way white people say your name. So, my name is Hasan Minhaj. I would get a Ha-sen Min-haj-a” Hasan Minhaj

Two important lessons here, my friends!

  • Interactivity is Influential

Since Hasan was addressing a comparatively smaller crowd of around 7 teens, he could incorporate an interactive activity, giving each of his audience members an opportunity to speak.

  • Lead the Activity Ladder

Before asking each of his audience members to speakers, Hasan himself initiated the act of participation from his end.

This way, the audience was all the more thrilled to speak.

Because when you participate, your audience sees it as an incentive and feels more confident to participate seeing that you as a speaker are making an effort too.

4. How to Triple your Memory By Using This Trick By Ricardo Lieuw On

“So, I have a little test for you. Don’t panic, I’m not here to judge you…” Ricardo Lieuw On

“Awaken the competitive nature of your audience members!” This should be your motto here.

But first, make sure that you are clear with the explanation of the rules so that it’s easier for everyone to follow.

Look how the speaker has introduced a competitive activity here to awaken the minds.

This serves two purposes:

  • Your audience is intrigued to listen to the rest of your talk
  • Even if a few members are distracted, you can win them back

Do you remember all the times when your mom used to make you eat green vegetables by instilling some sort of fear?

Be it the fear of dull skin or even poor eyesight for that matter, it eventually made you take that action.

Isn’t this aim of public speeches too? To persuade the audience to take some action after your speech ends? A hundred percent, yes!

So, let’s jump into how we can incorporate fear in our speech opening to make our audience listen to us.

How to Use Fear as your Opening Remark?

Step 1: At the fear of reiterating myself, “Begin with analyzing your audience”. The Best Guide to Audience Analysis is an article for you to help you do just that.

Step 2: Done with analyzing your audience after reading the article? Now, make a list of their potential fears related to the theme of your speech.

Step 3: Figure out that one fear that is not too triggering. Here, ask yourself, “If I were to listen to this, would I be triggered to a huge extent?” If the answer is yes, leave that fear and choose one that is slightly less triggering but

Examples of Speeches that used Fear as its Opening Remarks

1. why the secret to sucess is setting the right goals by john doerr.

“We’re at a critical moment Our leaders, some of our great institutions are failing us.” John Doerr

While highlighting how important it is to set the right goals for development, John Doerr begins his speech by pointing at how the institutions are failing their citizens by setting the wrong objectives.

When you are told that someone is failing you, you feel a sense of disappointment, and you are naturally drawn to know the reason behind it to figure out if there’s something you can do to improve the situation.

This is the exact feeling that we are going for here!

In this technique, we are looking forward to getting our audience to daydream without boring them.

This art of imagination works the best for persuasive speeches. Here’s how!

While delivering a persuasive speech, our aim is to align the audience’s thoughts with our thought process but there needs to be a bridge, right? A bridge that the audience can take to step into your thought process.

This bridge is the art of imagination.

How to Use Imagination as your Opening Remark?

Step 1: Decide the emotion that you want your audience to feel. Do you wish to go for a negative emotion or a positive one? My suggestion for you would be to go for a negative one since negative emotions overpower the positive ones, psychologically speaking.

Step 2: Once you have decided on the type of emotion, craft a descriptive outline for the piece of imagination that is related to the theme of your speech.

Step 3: Using simple yet descriptive language, write down your piece of imagination. Remember to write in a chronological order detailing each and every step otherwise your audience won’t truly immerse in that imaginary world. To explain to you in simpler terms, if a few steps are missing from the bridge, you cannot walk to reach the other side, can you?

Step 4: Focus the rest of your speech telling the audience what to do to avoid the situation (in case of a negative imagination) and what to do to reach the situation (in case of a positive imagination).

Examples of Speeches that used Imagination as Opening Remarks

1. the barrier between us by tvisha bandhu.

“Picture this. You’re in the MRT, you’re scrolling through your phone, and you take notice of this lady walking through the cabin saying ‘hello, hello.'” Tvisha Bandhu

This speech is the perfect example of how one can kick start his speech through the power of closed imagination (one wherein you provided step-by-step details on what to imagine).

Look how the speaker, Tvisha Bandhu, uses her body posture and gestures to emote every sense of feeling encompassed within that imagination.

It works perfectly in sync with her descriptive writing. It’s so descriptive that she has even written the exact dialogues for the characters involved in her imagination such as “Hello, Hello” for the lady who walked through the cabin.

Descriptive writing backed by powerful body language and vocal tonality can increase the impact manifold.

2. Why Do We Fear Speaking On Stage? By Pratik Uppal

“If I ask you to come on the stage right now & deliver a speech, think what kind of excuses would you come up with.” Pratik Uppal

The second example is of an open imagination.

You don’t necessarily need to provide step-by-step details for the audience to make them imagine a situation

One easy way is to simply tell them to ponder over their reaction to a particular situation and then, go on providing a brief of what exact situation they are put in.

In this TED Talk, the speaker asked the audience to imagine all the excuses that they can come up with to dread a public speaking event. Now, pause! Even you think! I’m sure you too can come up with many without anyone telling you what to imagine exactly.

This is what we call open imagination. Widespread usage of this technique can be seen in movies with open endings wherein the end is treated as possibly the beginning.

3. The Surprising Secret that Solves your Problems Quickly By Collins Key

“Imagine if you could take your brain and turn it inside out and then have access to the information to be able to virtually solve any problem. It sounds pretty cool, right?” Collins Key

In the previous sections, we discussed the examples for two commonly-used types of imagination- open and closed.

Here, we shall discuss an example of how you can ask the audience to imagine something out of the world.

If you are a Potter-head, you know the strength that this technique entails. The entire series is based upon fiction encompassing a world where everything goes larger than life, even life itself but you still can’t seem to snap out of it because you are that engrossed.

In this TED Talk, Collins opened up his talk with one such piece of imagination wherein he asked the audience to imagine how would they feel if they could simply take their brain out and turn it inside out to find a solution in the blink of an eye instead of spending hours overthinking for it.

Fascinating, right? This intrigued the audience to listen to the rest of his speech in the search of a secret to solve their problems in the quickest way possible.

4. How to Present to Keep your Audience’s Attention By Mark Robinson

“Imagine it’s Wednesday 28th of August, 1963 & we’re in the United States Of American, specifically Washington DC.” Mark Robinson

Imagination is only effective if you catering the right piece of imagination to the right audience.

Now, take the example of this TED Talk. Had this TED Talk been delivered to an audience who is not aware of the significance of the person being spoken about, Martin Luther King Jr, his speech would have been totally ineffective.

So, make sure that whatever piece of imagination you have to offer is within the understanding of your audience.

This technique doesn’t require any fancy introduction.

For the longest time, great orators have been starting their respective speeches with one quote or the other to persuade their audience through the art of rhythm.

But the inclusion of this technique as an opening remark is easier said than done. Make sure you follow the steps in the next section.

How to Use A Quote as an Opening Remark?

Before we begin, remember not to use a quote that is too common. Use a quote that is less heard of!

Option 1: The easiest and safest bet is to use a famous quote related to the context of your speech. If the propounder of that quote is associated with the topic of your speech in one way or the other, it’s even better since it establishes the credibility of the quote.

Option 2: The other effective way is to make a quote of your own instead of relying upon someone else’s quote. It’s simpler than it sounds. An easier hack is to use alliteration (occurrence of similar sound at the beginning of adjacent words in a phrase) in the phrase you wish to highlight as your opening remark. For instance, even the title of this section, “Quintessential Quality of A Quote” uses this technique. Read Getting Your ‘Wordsworth’: Poetry in Public Speaking to know how exactly you can write a quote using alliteration and similar techniques.

Examples of Speeches that Used Quotes as Opening Remarks

1. increase your self-awareness with one simple fix by tasha eurich.

Tennessee Williams once told us, “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is what you’ll ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.” Tasha Eurich

To see the application of the first alternative in action, watch this TED Talk by Tasha Eurich.

While using someone else’s quote, attribution to the speaker is necessary. You can do so by simply saying something like, “As NAME OF THE SPEAKER rightly said…” Nothing too fancy, simplicity works the best.

Talking about the credibility of the original speaker of the quote, since this TED Talk is focused upon “Self-awareness”, it made Tennessee Williams who was a great playwright in Hollywood, a credible speaker to trust.

2. Mistakes Make the Man By Mathew George

“Man makes mistakes & mistakes make the man.” Mathew George

Now, let’s talk about making a quote on our own. Shall we?

The most basic step we discussed under the “how-to” section was alliteration and that’s what the speaker, Mathew George, used in the creation of his opening remark too.

Alliteration provides a rhythm to your speech opening line and makes you sound persuasive naturally.

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We hope that you have found some value here in your journey as a public speaker!

If you wish to know about more such amazing speech opening lines, make sure you check out 15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines (& How to Create Your Own) .

Not just that! We’ve written a similar article on 50 Speech Closing Lines (& How to Create Your Own) l The Ultimate Guide . Make sure you read that to END YOUR SPEECH WITH A BANG!

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  • How to Start a Speech: The Best Ways to Capture Your Audience

You’ve heard the saying,  “First impressions are lasting; you never get a second chance to create a good first impression” —  right?

The same is true when talking about how to start a speech…

The truth is, when you start your speech, you must focus everything on making a positive first impression on your audience members (especially if you are doing the presentation virtually ). Capturing the audience’s attention from the very beginning is crucial to prevent them from being distracted, losing interest, or forming negative opinions.

The introduction is the formal greeting for speeches, so let’s be sure to get this right to hook the audience. Understanding the importance of speech openings can significantly impact making a strong first impression. Planning and delivering the first words with confidence and relevance is essential, as they set the tone for the entire presentation and ensure you deliver a professional start, free from hesitation or irrelevance.

Here are 15 different ways to start a speech as well as 2 extra BONUS tips at the end.

1) Thank the Organizers and Audience

You can start by thanking the audience for coming and thanking the organization for inviting you to speak.

Refer to the person who introduced you or to one or more of the senior people in the organization in the audience.

This compliments them, makes them feel proud and happy about your presence, and connects you to the audience like an electrical plug in a socket.

2) Start With a Positive Statement

A presentation tip at the start is to tell the audience members how much they will like and enjoy what you have to say.

For example, you might say:

“You’re really going to enjoy the time we spend together this evening. I’m going to share with you some of the most important ideas that have ever been discovered in this area.”

Remember that  speaking is an art,  so be an artist and take complete control of your performance,

3) Compliment the Audience

You can begin by complimenting the audience members sincerely and with great respect.

Smile as if you are really glad to see them as if they are all old friends of yours that you have not seen for quite a while.

You can tell them that it is a great honor for you to be here, that they are some of the most important people in this business or industry, and that you are looking forward to sharing some key ideas with them.

You could say something like:

“It is an honor to be here with you today. You are the elite, the top 10 percent of people in this industry. Only the very best people in any field will take the time and make the sacrifice to come so far for a conference like this.”

4) Start Your Speech With the First Sentence Referring to Current Events

Use a current event front-page news story to transition into your subject and to illustrate or prove your point. You can bring a copy of the newspaper and hold it up as you refer to it in your introduction.

This visual image of you holding the paper and reciting or reading a key point rivets the audience’s attention and causes more people to lean forward to hear what you have to say.

5) Refer to a Historical Event

For many years, I studied military history…

Especially the lives and campaigns of the great generals and the decisive battles they won. One of my favorites was Alexander the Great. Standing in the symbolic shadow of such historical figures can provide a powerful and engaging start to any speech, especially when drawing parallels to contemporary challenges.

One day, I was asked to give a talk on leadership principles to a roomful of managers for a Fortune 500 company.

I decided that the campaign of Alexander the Great against Darius of Persia would make an excellent story that would illustrate the leadership qualities of one of the great commanders in history.

I opened my talk with these words:

“Once upon a time there was a young man named Alex who grew up in a poor country. But Alex was a little bit ambitious. From an early age, he decided that he wanted to conquer the entire known world. But there was a small problem.

Most of the known world was under the control of a huge multinational called the Persian Empire, headed by King Darius II. To fulfill his ambition, Alex was going to have to take the market share away from the market leader, who was very determined to hold on to it.

This is the same situation that exists between you and your major competitors in the market today. You are going to have to use all your leadership skills to win the great marketing battles of the future.”

6) Refer to a Well Known Person

You can start by quoting a well-known person or publication that recently made an interesting or important statement.

One of the subjects I touch upon regularly is the importance of continual personal development.

I will say something like:

“In the twenty-first century, knowledge and know-how are the keys to success. As basketball coach Pat Riley said, ‘If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.’”

7) Refer to a Recent Conversation

Start by telling a story about a recent conversation with someone in attendance.

For instance, I might say:

“A few minutes ago, I was talking with Tom Robinson in the lobby. He told me that this is one of the very best times to be working in this industry, and I agree.”

8) Make a Shocking Statement With a Startling Fact

You can start your talk by making a shocking statement of some kind.

For example, you might say something like:

“Here’s a startling fact: According to a recent study, there will be more change, more competition, and more opportunities in this industry in the next year than ever before. And 72 percent of the people in this room will be doing something different within two years if they do not rapidly adapt to these changes.”

Click here If you want to learn more techniques to wow your audience.

9) Quote From Recent Research

You can start by quoting a relevant, recent research report.

One example is:

“According to a story in a recent issue of Businessweek, there were almost 11 million millionaires in America in 2018, most of them self-made.”

10) Start Your Speech With a Strong Opening By Giving Them Hope

The French philosopher Gustav Le Bon once wrote, “The only religion of mankind is, and always has been hope.”

When you speak effectively, you give people hope of some kind.

Remember, the ultimate purpose of public speaking, is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments.

Everything you say should relate to the actions you want people to take and the reasons that they should take those actions.

11) Be Entertaining

Bill Gove used to walk onto the stage after his introduction if he had just finished talking to someone on the side and was breaking off to give his talk to the group.

The audience got the feeling that his entire talk was one continuous conversation, devoid of meaningless filler words .

Bill would often go to the edge of the stage and then drop his voice in a conspiratorial way, open his arms, and beckon the audience members to come a little closer.

He would say, “Come here, let me tell you something,” and then he would wave them forward as though he was about to tell a secret to the entire room.

The amazing thing was that everyone in the room would lean forward to hear this “secret” that he was about to share. People would all suddenly realize what they were doing and break out in laughter. It was a wonderful device to get the audience into the palm of his hands.

12) Ask a Question

You can open by making a positive statement and then pose a rhetorical question to engage your audience and set the stage for your presentation.

Try something like this:

“This is a great time to be alive and in business in America. But let me ask you, what does it truly mean to be self-employed in today’s economy?”

Raise your hand to indicate what you want people to do. I have used this line, and after a moment of thought, I then say to someone who looks intrigued in the front, “How many people here feel truly self-employed?”

Invariably, someone will say, “We all do!”

I then compliment and affirm the answer: “You’re right! We are all self-employed, from the time we take our first jobs to the day that we retire; we all work for ourselves, no matter who signs our paychecks.”

Similarly, a 17-year-old science fair winner effectively engaged their audience with a question at the beginning of their TED Talk, showcasing the power of this technique.

13) Open With a Problem

You can start with a problem that must be solved. If it is a problem that almost everyone has in common, you will immediately have the audience’s complete and undivided attention.

For example, you could say:

“Fully 63 percent of baby boomers are moving toward retirement without enough money put aside to provide for themselves for as long as they are going to live. We must address this problem and take action immediately to ensure that each person who retires will be able to live comfortably for the rest of his or her natural life.”

Introducing a new idea at this point can be a powerful way to engage your audience further, by promising a solution that is both innovative and beneficial.

14) Make a Strong Statement, Then Ask a Question

You can start by making a strong and powerful statement and then ask a question. You then follow with an answer and ask another question. This gets people immediately involved and listening to your every word.

Here’s an example:

“Twenty percent of the people in our society make 80 percent of the money. Are you a member of the top 20 percent? If not, would you like to join the top 20 percent or even the top 10 percent? Well, in the next few minutes, I am going to give you some ideas to help you become some of the highest-paid people in our society. Would that be a good goal for our time together today?”

15) Tell a Personal Story

You can start your talk with a personal story. Some of the most powerful words to capture the complete attention of the audience and make a personal connection are, “Once upon a time…”

From infancy and early childhood, people love stories of any kind. When you start off a presentation with a personal anecdote using the words, “Once upon a time…” you tell the audience that a relatable story is coming. People immediately settle down, become quiet, and lean forward, eager to hear how your experience might mirror their own or offer them new insights.

When I conduct full-day seminars and I want to bring people back to their seats after a break, I will say loudly, “Once upon a time there was a man, right here in this city…”

As soon as I say these words, people hurry back to their seats and begin to listen attentively, connecting with the story on a personal level.

Incorporating a personal story is very effective.

In fact, it’s probably one of the best public speaking tips I’ve learned to this day.

Bonus Tip: Tell Them About Yourself

Very often, I will start a serious speech or presentation to a business, sales, or entrepreneurial group by saying:

“I started off without graduating from high school. My family had no money. Everything I accomplished in life I had to do on my own with very little help from anyone else.”

It is amazing how many people come up to me after a talk that began with those words and tells me that was their experience as well.

They tell me that they could immediately identify with me because they too had started with poor grades and limited funds, as most people do. As a result, they were open to the rest of my talk, even a full-day seminar, and felt that everything I said was more valid and authentic than if I had been a person who started off with a successful background.

Building a bridge like this is very helpful in bringing the audience onto your side.

Bonus Tip: Get Them Talking to One Another

You can ask people to turn to the person next to them to discuss a particular point.

For instance, you could say:

“Tell the person next to you what you would like to learn from this seminar.”

Whatever you ask your audience members to do, within reason, they will do it for you. Your commands and your thought leadership will easily influence them, as long as you ask them with confidence.

By following any one of these tips for starting your speech, you are sure to grab your audience’s attention every time. How do you start a speech? Let me know in the comments.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , Linkedin and Youtube .

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How to Start a Speech: The Best (and Worst) Speech Openers

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One of the hardest things about public speaking is knowing how to start a speech. Your opening line is your first impression. It’s how you capture attention. It’s how you captivate the audience. So how do you make sure you nail it every time?

The best way to know how to open a speech is to look at what has worked in the past. When we examined the top speeches of all time and the most popular TED talks of all time, we found some interesting speaking patterns.

Time has identified the top 10 greatest speeches of all time. They are:

Opening Lines of the Top 10 Greatest Speeches of All Time

#1: Socrates – “Apology”

Socrates's Speech Opening Line

#2: Patrick Henry – “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”

Patrick Henry's Speech Opening Line

#3: Frederick Douglass – “The Hypocrisy of American Slavery”

Frederick Douglas's Speech Opening Line

#4: Abraham Lincoln – “Gettysburg Address”

Opening Line: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address Quote

#5: Susan B. Anthony – “Women’s Rights to the Suffrage”

Susan B. Anthony's Speech Opening Line

#6: Winston Churchill – “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat”

Winston Churchill's Speech Opening Line

#7: John F. Kennedy – “Inaugural Address”

Opening Line: “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change.”

opening speech examples for seminar

#8: Martin Luther King, Jr. – “I Have a Dream”

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Speech Opening Line

#9: Lyndon B. Johnson – “The American Promise”

Lyndon B. Johnson's Speech Opening Line

#10: Ronald Reagan – “Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate”

Ronald Reagan's Speech Opening Line

How do all of these historical greats start their speeches? Is there a difference between these and some of the more modern top TED talks?

Before we dive in, let’s recap with some critical do’s and don’ts when opening a speech:

Opening Lines of the Top 10 TED Talks of All Time

Here are the opening lines to the top 10 Ted Talks of all time according to view count:

#1: Sir Ken Robinson – “Do schools kill creativity?” Opening Line: “Good morning. How are you? It’s been great, hasn’t it? I’ve been blown away by the whole thing. In fact, I’m leaving.”

#2: Amy Cuddy – “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are” Opening Line: “So I want to start by offering you a free, no-tech life hack, and all it requires of you is this: that you change your posture for two minutes.”

#3: Simon Sinek – “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”

#4: Brene Brown – “The Power of Vulnerability” Opening Line: “So, I’ll start with this: a couple years ago, an event planner called me because I was going to do a speaking event.”

#5: Mary Roach – “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasm” Opening Line: “All right. I’m going to show you a couple of images from a very diverting paper in The Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.”

#6: Julian Treasure – “How to Speak so that People Want to Listen” Opening Line: “The human voice: It’s the instrument we all play.”

#7: Jill Bolte Taylor – “My Stroke of Insight” Opening Line: “I grew up to study the brain because I have a brother who has been diagnosed with a brain disorder: schizophrenia.”

#8: James Veitch – “This is What Happens When You Reply to Spam Email” Opening Line: “A few years ago, I got one of those spam emails.”

#9: Cameron Russell – “Looks Aren’t Everything; Believe Me, I’m a Model” Opening Line: “Hi. My name is Cameron Russell, and for the last little while, I’ve been a model.”

#10: Dan Pink – “The Puzzle of Motivation” Opening Line: “I need to make a confession at the outset here.”

What can we learn from these opening lines? There are some patterns that can help us. First, let’s start with what you shouldn’t do. Have you ever made one of these cardinal speaking sins?

Never Start a Presentation with…

Anything technical! This is a big mistake people make when they have not done a tech check ahead of time or are feeling nervous. Never start with these openers:

  • Is this microphone working?
  • Can you hear me?
  • Wow, these lights are bright!

Your nervousness. Many people think it is vulnerable to start with how nervous they are about speaking — you can mention this later, but it should not be the first thing. Why? People will then only be looking for signs of your nervousness. Don’t start with:

  • I’m so nervous right now!
  • Wow there are so many people here.
  • I’m not a great public speaker.

A lackluster or non-believable nicety. It’s great to be grateful to the person who introduced you, but it’s not a great way to include the audience. It’s ok to thank the audience for being there—but do it at the end (not as your opening line). These are all too boring:

  • Thanks for having me.
  • Thanks for that intro.
  • Nice to be here.

Boring, shmoring! I have an exception here if you can make it funny. Ken Robinson started with a nicety and then turned it into a joke. He said, “ “Good morning. How are you? It’s been great, hasn’t it? I’ve been blown away by the whole thing. In fact, I’m leaving.”

More Public Speaking Resources

Get even more public speaking tips with our related resources:

  • 10 Presentation Ideas that will Radically Improve Your Presentation Skills
  • 6 Public Speaking Apps to try Before Your Next Presentation
  • My Top 5 Favorite Public Speakers
  • 15 Science-Based Public Speaking Tips To Become a Master Speaker
  • How to Give Captivating Presentations
  • How to Give an Awesome Toast

How to Start a Presentation

A story. The absolute best way to start a presentation is with a story. There is nothing better to capture the imagination and attention of an audience. Try to use these speaking openers as fill-in-the-blanks for your speech.

  • I’m here for a reason. And it’s an interesting story…
  • The best thing that ever happened to me was…
  • Once upon a time…

In his talk, “The lies our culture tells us about what matters,” David Brooks started off with a great opening line AND a story. He said, “So, we all have bad seasons in life. And I had one in 2013. My marriage had just ended, and I was humiliated by that failed commitment.” Makes you want to watch right…

And if you need help on storytelling basics, be sure to check out some of my top 5 favorite speakers .

A BIG idea. Sometimes you want to share your big idea right up front. This can be helpful because it is intriguing and gets people clued in right away. All TED speakers try to integrate their big idea early.

  • You’re here for a reason. It’s…
  • The single most important thing I want to share with you today is…
  • Today, I want to share a big idea…

I love how Stacy Smith starts off her talk with her big idea framed in an interesting way. She said, “Today, I want to tell you about a pressing social issue. Now, it’s not nuclear arms, it’s not immigration, and it’s not malaria. I’m here to talk about movies.”

Special Note: Be very careful to NOT deliver your one-liner by re-reading your title slide. You also want to position it as exciting and intriguing. For example, don’t say, “Today I am going to talk about body language.” Instead say, “Today I am going to teach you the single most important thing you can do to improve your charisma… and it starts with your body.”

A quirky one-liner. If you can use humor — do it! Humor or curiosity is a great way to start a speech on a high. You can get creative with these! Think of an interesting fact about you, your audience or your topic that can lead you into your content.

  • One thing most people don’t know about me is…
  • A teacher, a mother and a duck walk into a bar…
  • I want to tell you something surprising.

When I gave my TEDx London Talk I started off with a quirky one-liner that immediately got a few laughs. It was “Hi, I’m Vanessa and I am a recovering awkward person.” It worked so well it is also the first line of my book, Captivate . 

II love the way Eve Ensler opens her speech with an interesting one-liner: “For a long time, there was me, and my body.”

This is a great tip from Conor Neill. He says that it is great to start with a question that the audience is asking themselves or would be very curious to know the answer to. This might be phrasing a pain point or worry for your audience.

  • Do you ever worry about…?
  • Have you ever wondered…?
  • You might have always thought…

See Cono Neill’s examples here: 

Did you know…? Any interesting factoid or curiosity is bound to intrigue your audience. This is great if it leads into your content or a story. I like to start with did you know… Here are some that I use. You will have to fill in the blank for your audience:

  • Did you know that it takes less than a second to make a first impression ?
  • Did you know that your nonverbal communication is 12.5 times more powerful than your words ?
  • Did you know that we are lied to 200 times a day ?

Jamie Oliver does this amazingly in his TED Talk. He starts with this mind-blowing fact, “Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead through the food that they eat.”

Hopefully these opening lines will give you some ideas to use to open your speech.

How to End a Speech: My Favorite Closers

Do you know how to end on a high? Leave a lasting impression in your presentation? Science tells us that the first and last parts of your presentations are the most important. Get our FREE download to get our closer guide.

Popular Guides

20 thoughts on “how to start a speech: the best (and worst) speech openers”.

opening speech examples for seminar

Love your material

opening speech examples for seminar

didnt help me but still good stuff

opening speech examples for seminar

Thank you Vanessa. I’ve been a public speaker for 25 years and I’m impressed with your content here. Thank you. Looking forward to a deep dive into more of your material. With gratitude.

opening speech examples for seminar

Found these examples super informative. Can’t wait to mix match the examples to see which one will work best for my presentation!

opening speech examples for seminar

I am preparing to make a presentation on Public Speaking and came across your article. This is very instructive and timely too.Many thanks.

Comments are closed.

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8 Opening a Speech: Get Their Attention from the Start!

Man holding a prop while talking to an audience

Get the audience’s attention, or the rest of your speech is a waste. I mean it!  Most people spend the majority of their speech preparation time working on the body of their speech and then they tack on an opening and a closing last minute.

The opening and closing deserve the most attention. Why?  If you don’t get the audience’s attention and get them to pay attention to you instead of…  the thoughts in their heads, their grocery lists, their neighbors, their social media…then all the rest of your brilliant content is wasted because they will never hear it. Lisa Marshall of Toastmasters International stresses the opening words are so important that “I spend 10 times more time developing and practicing the opener than any other part of the speech.”

Look at the description of Person A and Person B and tell me which person you like more.

Person A envious, stubborn, critical, impulsive, industrious, and intelligent

Person B intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn, and envious

If you are like most people, you have a preference for Person B.  This illustrates a study by Solomon Ashe. He had subjects rate these two people using a string of descriptive words. Now look back at the descriptions. Look closely and you will notice they are the same words in a different order. Most people put the most emphasis on the first three words in determining how they will create the person. Like Asche’s subjects, your audience will be evaluating those first three words. Let’s bring it back around to speechmaking. The first sentence out of your mouth is crucial and the first three words are especially important.

I am sure you are not surprised to know that people form opinions quickly. To prove this, researchers showed subjects either a 20-minute clip of a job applicant or a 20-30 second clip of a job applicant. They were asked to rate the person on likeability and self-assurance. People were able to form an opinion in under thirty seconds. Not only that but they were able to form the same opinions from a 30-second clip as a 20-minute exposure.

The Battle for Attention

Remember that every piece of content in our modern era is part of an attention war. It’s fighting against thousands of other claims on people’s time and energy. This is true even when you’re standing on a stage in front of a seated audience. They have deadly distracters in their pockets called smartphones, which they can use to summon to their eyes a thousand outside alternatives. Once emails and texts make their claim, your talk may be doomed. And then there’s that lurking demon of modern life, fatigue. All these are lethal enemies. You never want to provide someone with an excuse to zone out. You have to be a savvy general directing this war’s outcome. Starting strong is one of your most important weapons. Chris Anderson, TED Talks, The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.

“People don’t pay attention to boring things,” according to John Medina, author of Brain Rules, “You’ve got 30 seconds before they start asking the question, ‘Am I going to pay attention to you or not?'” It is important to get your audience’s attention right away. In this chapter, I will share with you several ways to win the war for attention and to start your speech right. I will show you the basic opening and closing structure of speeches and give you many examples of what that looks like.  A speech, like an airplane, needs a good take-off and a good landing. Now it’s time to prepare to have a strong take-off and learn everything that goes into a speech introduction. This chapter is full of examples from a variety of talks. I included quotes from those introductions, but I also included links to each of those talks hoping you will be interested enough to want to listen.

Ways to Start a Speech

Chris Anderson likens this to battle. “First there is the 10-second war: can you do something in your first moments on stage to ensure people’s eager attention while you set up your talk topic? Second is the 1-minute war: can you then use that first minute to ensure that they’re committed to coming on the full talk journey with you?”

When thinking about your speech, spend a lot of time thinking about how to win the battle for their attention. Your introduction should make your audience want to put down their phones and listen. Your introduction should be so compelling they stop their wandering minds and turn their thoughts to you and you alone. Your introduction should start with three strong words where they form a strong opinion of you and your speech.  Let me share how to accomplish this. 

Capturing the audience through the story is one of the most powerful ways to start a speech. A story engages the brain in powerful ways and causes the audience’s brains to sync with the speakers. A well-told story will allow the audience to “see” things in their mind’s eye and to join the speaker’s emotions.

Watch this clip by Ric Elias for how he begins his speech with a powerful story. Particularly notice his first four words, “Imagine a big explosion.” 

Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft.   Imagine a plane full of smoke.   Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack.   It sounds scary.   Well, I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D. I was the only one who could talk to the flight attendants. So I looked at them right away, and they said, “No problem. We probably hit some birds.” The pilot had already turned the plane around, and we weren’t that far. You could see Manhattan. Two minutes later, three things happened at the same time.

Ric Elias, Three Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed. 

Consider these other examples and notice how the speaker uses a story.

More powerful introductions using story:

I love you, I believe in you and it’s going to be OK. The three things that I needed to hear three years ago when I felt more abandoned than ever. I remember that day as if it happen this morning. It was Sunday and I had just woken up early at a brisk 12:30 in the afternoon. Ryan Brooks, Honesty, courage, and the importance of brushing your teeth.  When I was nine years old I went off to summer camp for the first time. And my mother packed me a suitcase full of books, which to me seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. Because in my family, reading was the primary group activity. And this might sound antisocial to you, but for us, it was really just a different way of being social. You have the animal warmth of your family sitting right next to you, but you are also free to go roaming around the adventureland inside your own mind. And I had this idea that camp was going to be just like this, but better. Susan Cain. The Power of Introverts. I grew up to study the brain because I have a brother who has been diagnosed with a brain disorder: schizophrenia. Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight. A few years ago, I got one of those spam emails. I’m not quite sure how, but it turned up in my inbox, and it was from a guy called Solomon Odonkoh.  James Veitch This is What Happens When You Reply to Spam Email. Eleven years ago, while giving birth to my first child, I hemorrhaged and was transfused with seven pints of blood. Four years later, I found out that I had been infected with the AIDS virus and had unknowingly passed it to my daughter, Ariel, through my breast milk, and my son, Jake, in utero. Elizabeth Glaser,  Address to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

Good stories immediately set the stage and introduce you to the place and to the people. Doing this helps your brain can form a structure where the story takes place. It helps you see the story unfold in your mind.  If you need help starting a story, Vanessa Van Edwards suggests these prompts:

  • Once upon a time.
  • I’m here for a reason, and it’s an interesting story.
  • The best thing that ever happened to me was.

There is an entire chapter on the Power of Story that can be found here.

Humor is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood. – Mary Hirsch

  When Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane spoke at Harvard Commencemen t in the rain, he started with “There’s nowhere I would rather be on a day like this than around all this electrical equipment.” People laughed, people smiled, and the speech was off to a strong start. Humor works because it gives the audience a hit of the feel-good hormone dopamine. That is … if you are funny. If you decide to use humor, make sure you are funny. Test your humor on honest friends. In addition, the humor you use should fit your personality and your audience. Be warned, some groups would find humor inappropriate, do your research.

Watch this clip for how Tshering Tobgay begins his speech with humor. 

In case you are wondering, no, I’m not wearing a dress, and no, I’m not saying what I’m wearing underneath. (Laughter) This is a go. This is my national dress. This is how all men dress in Bhutan. That is how our women dress. Like our women, we men get to wear pretty bright colors, but unlike our women, we get to show off our legs. Our national dress is unique, but this is not the only thing that’s unique about my country. Our promise to remain carbon neutral is also unique, and this is what I’d like to speak about today, our promise to remain carbon neutral.

Tshering Tobgay, This Country Isn’t Just Carbon Neutral–Its Carbon Negative. 

More powerful introductions using humor

I didn’t rebel as a teenager.   I started late and was still going at it the summer I turned thirty. I just became an American citizen, I divorced my husband, I got a big tattoo of a bat on my arm, and I joined a New York City punk band. Danusia Trevino, Guilty I need to make a confession at the outset here. A little over 20 years ago, I did something that I regret, something that I’m not particularly proud of.   Something that, in many ways, I wish no one would ever know, but that here I feel kind of obliged to reveal. In the late 1980s, in a moment of youthful indiscretion, I went to law school. Dan Pink, The Puzzle of Motivation.  It is really interesting to be a woman and to get to 45 and to not be married yet and to not have kids, especially when you have pushed out your fifth kid on television. Tracee Ellis Ross, 2017 Glamour Woman of the Year. I am not drunk …but the doctor who delivered me was.” (reference the shake she has due to a botched medical procedure at birth causing her cerebral palsey). Maysoon Zayid, I’ve Got 99 Prolbems and Cerebral Palsey is Not One of Them .

Salutation followed by humor

Oh boy, thank you so much, thank you so much.   Thank you, President Cowan, Mrs. President Cowen; distinguished guests, undistinguished guests, you know who you are, honored faculty and creepy Spanish teacher.   And thank you to all the graduating Class of 2009, I realize most of you are hungover and have splitting headaches and haven’t slept since Fat Tuesday, but you can’t graduate ’til I finish, so listen up. When I was asked to make the commencement speech, I immediately said yes.   Then I went to look up what commencement meant which would have been easy if I had a dictionary, but most of the books in our house are Portia’s, and they’re all written in Australian.   So I had to break the word down myself, to find out the meaning. Commencement: common, and cement, common cement.   You commonly see cement on sidewalks.   Sidewalks have cracks, and if you step on a crack, you break your mother’s back.   So there’s that.   But I’m honored that you’ve asked me here to speak at your common cement Ellen DeGenres, Commencement Speech at Tulane. Well, thank you. Thank you Mr. President, First Lady, King Abdullah of Jordan, Norm, distinguished guests. Please join me in praying that I don’t say something we’ll all regret. That was for the FCC. If you’re wondering what I’m doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well so am I. I’m certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is — is leather. Bono at  the  54th annual National Prayer Breakfast.  

Starting your speech by sharing a little-known fact, can be powerful. For this to fully work, you need to have the audience’s attention from the very first word. Read on for how these speakers started strong.

Powerful introductions using facts

Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat. Jamie Oliver, Teach Every Child About Food. So I want to start by offering you a free, no-tech life hack, and all it requires of you is this: that you change your posture for two minutes. Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are. Okay, now I don’t want to alarm anybody in this room, but it’s just come to my attention that the person to your right is a liar. (Laughter) Also, the person to your left is a liar. Also the person sitting in your very seats is a liar. We’re all liars. What I’m going to do today is I’m going to show you what the research says about why we’re all liars, how you can become a lie spotter and why you might want to go the extra mile and go from lie spotting to truth seeking, and ultimately to trust building. Pamela Meyer, How to Spot a Liar. You will live 7.5 minutes longer than you would have otherwise, just because you watched this talk.  Jane McGonigal. The Game That Can Give You Ten Extra Years of Life. There are 900,000 divorces   in the United States of America every year.   Fewer than 10% of them   ever talked to anybody about their relationship.   So why would you need a science?   Well, we need a science to develop effective treatment   and understanding of how to make love work.   Why?   Why should we care about having great relationships?   Well, it turns out that in the past 50 years,   a field called social epidemiology has emerged,   and it shows that great friendships,   great love relationships between lovers and parents and children   lead to greater health – mental health as well as physical health –   greater wealth, greater resilience,   faster recovery from illness,   greater longevity –   if you want to live 10 to 15 years longer, work on your relationships,   not just your exercise –   and more successful children as well.   John Gottman. The Science of Love.  This room may appear to be holding 600 people but there is actually so many more because within each of us there is a multiple of personalities. Elizabeth Lesser,  Take the Other to Lunch.

Using a physical object can draw the audience’s attention. Make sure you plan the timing of the prop, and you practice with it. It is important that it is large enough for the audience to see and they can see it well enough that they are not frustrated. Depending on your speech, it may be appropriate to put it away, so it is not distracting.

Powerful introductions using props

Darren Tay walks onto the stage and stares at the audience. He pulls a pair of underwear out of his pocket and puts them on over his suit. “Hey loser how do you like your new school uniform. I think it looks great on you. Those were the words of my high school bully Greg Upperfield. Now if you are all wondering if the underwear that Greg used was clean, I had the same questions. Darren Tay, Outsmart, Outlast. Toastmasters 2016 World Champion of Public Speaking . Mohammed Qahtani walks onstage, puts a cigarette in his mouth … then looks up as if noticing the audience and says, “What?” As the audience laughs, he continues. “Oh, you all think smoking kills? Ha-ha, let me tell you something. Do you know that the amount of people dying from diabetes are three times as many [as the] people dying from smoking? Yet if I pulled out a Snickers bar, nobody would say anything.” He goes on to say, his facts are made up and his real topic is about how words have power. Mohammed Qahtani, Toastmasters 2015 World Champion of Public Speaking
JA Gamach blows a train whistle and then starts his speech as if he were a conductor, “All aboard! It’s a bright sunny day and you are taking a train. You are wearing a pair of sandals you proudly made yourself. As you board the train one of your sandals slips off and falls beside the track.  (J.A. loses one sandal that falls down the platform.)  You try to retrieve it. Too late. The train starts to pull away. What would you have done? I would have cursed my bad luck, mad at losing a sandal. JA Gamache, Toastmasters 2007 World Championship. 

Use a Quotation

Powerful introductions using quotes.

Rules for using quotes

  • Be sure to use the quote purposefully and not just as placeholders.
  • Quotes can just take up valuable space where you could put content unless they are not properly used.
  • Let the quote be more important than the author. When using a quote at the opening, say the quote first and then the author. When using a quote at the end of a speech, say the author first and then the quote.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Use a quote that gets to the point quickly.
  • If you must use long quotes–put them on your slide.
  • If you project a quote, read it to the audience. Never expect them to read it while you talk about something else. Never say stupid things like, “You can read, I’ll let you read this for yourselves” or “Your adults, I’ll let you process this.”
  • Check the authorship and authenticity of the quote. There are so many quotes on the internet that are misattributed and misquoted. For example, who wrote the quote: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”?
  • Do not go for the overused quote or your audience is prone to dismiss it.  Instead of quoting an overused “I have a dream quote” do as Jim Key, the 2003 Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking did and pick an equally great but lesser-used Martin Luther King Quote: “The time is always right to do what is right!”

Watch Nate Stauffer at a Moth Grand Slam as he uses poetry to start and carry his story.

Watch this clip for how Andrew Solomon opens with a quote to make us think about depression. 

Andrew Solomon, Depression, The Secret We Share. 

Reference the Occasion

Ceremonial speeches often call for acknowledgment of those in attendance or a mention of the occasion. Here is how Martin Luther King Junior set up his famous speech. I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Martin Luther King Junior, I Have a Dream.

Get the Audience Involved

Having the audience stand, raise their hand, or even nod in encouragement can cause them to focus on your message. This can be particularly helpful if the audience has been sitting for a while. Let me show you a few examples of how that works.

Ask a Question

You can involve the audience from the start by asking them a question.

Watch the first few minutes of Amy Purdy’s speech and how she starts with a question, “ If your life were a book   and you were the author,   how would you want your story to go?” 

More powerful introductions using a question

I’m here today to talk about a disturbing question, which has an equally disturbing answer. My topic is the secret of domestic violence and the question I’m going to tackle is the one everyone always asks. Why would she stay? Why would anyone stay with a man who beats her? Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave- Leslie Morgan Steiner Here’s a question we need to rethink together: What should be the role of money and markets in our societies? Today, there are very few things that money can’t buy. If you’re sentenced to a jail term in Santa Barbara, California, you should know that if you don’t like the standard accommodations, you can buy a prison cell upgrade. It’s true. For how much, do you think? What would you guess? Five hundred dollars? It’s not the Ritz-Carlton. It’s a jail! Eighty-two dollars a night. Eighty-two dollars a night. Michael Sandel, Why We Shouldn’t Trust Markets with Our Civic Life.
How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions? For example: Why is Apple so innovative? Year after year, after year, after year, they’re more innovative than all their competition. Simon Sinek, How Great Leaders Inspire Action.  Can you remember a moment when a brilliant idea flashed into your head? Darren LaCroix,  Ouch! World Champion of Public Speaking.

Have the Audience Participate

If you ask a question you want the audience to answer, be sure to give them time to respond. If they raise their hands, be sure to acknowledge their response. You might have the answer by standing, by raising their hands, by speaking to their neighbor. You might call on one member of the audience to answer for the group.

If you ask a question you want the audience to answer, don’t let your presentation slide give away the answer. For example, one speaker had a slide behind him that said, “Lesson 1: Don’t Worry About IQ.” He has the audience raise their hand if they want to improve their grades then he asks, “So can I get a show of hands, how many would say IQ is going to be the most important to get those marks to go up?” Very few people responded because the answer was “written on the wall” literally.

Watch this clip as Allan Pease engages the audience.

Everybody hold your right hand in front like this in a handshaking position. Uncross your legs. Relaxed position. Right hand in front. When I say the word, “Now” here’s what we’re going to do. I am going to ask you to turn to someone besides you, shake hands as if you’re meeting for the first time, and keep pumping till I ask you to stop. Then you’ll stop and freeze it and we’re going to analyze what’s happening. You got that? You don’t have time to think about this. Do it now. Pick anybody and pump. Pump, everybody. Freeze it. Hold it. Stop. Hold it. Freeze it. Keep your hands locked. Keep them locked. The person whose hand is most on top is saying “I’ll be the boss for the rest of the day.” Allan Pease, Body Language, the Power is in the Palm of Your Hands. 

More powerful introductions using audience participation

I have a confession to make. But first, I want you to make a little confession to me. In the past year, I want you to just raise your hand if you’ve experienced relatively little stress? Kelly McGonigal, How to Make Stress Your Friend. So I’d like to start, if I may, by asking you some questions. If you’ve ever lost someone you truly loved, ever had your heartbroken, ever struggled through an acrimonious divorce, or being the victim of infidelity, please stand up. If standing up isn’t accessible to you, you can put your hand up. Please stay standing and keep your hand up there. If you’ve ever lived through a natural disaster, being bullied or made redundant, stand on up. If you’ve ever had a miscarriage, if you’ve ever had an abortion or struggled through infertility, please stand up. Finally, if you or anyone you love has had to cope with mental illness, dementia, some form of physical impairment or cope with suicide, please stand up. Look around you. Adversity doesn’t discriminate. If you are alive, you are going to have to, or you’ve already had to, deal with some tough times Thank you, everyone. Take a seat. Lucy Hone: The Three Secrets of Resilient People.  Advice from Moth Storytelling Club Have a great first line that sets up the stakes and grabs attention No: “So I was thinking about climbing this mountain. But then I watched a little TV and made a snack and took a nap and my mom called and vented about her psoriasis then I did a little laundry (a whites load) (I lost another sock, darn it!) and then I thought about it again and decided I’d climb the mountain the next morning.” Yes: “The mountain loomed before me. I had my hunting knife, some trail mix and snow boots. I had to make it to the little cabin and start a fire before sundown or freeze to death for sure.”  

Arouse Suspense or Curiosity

Watch this clip for how Kathryn Schulz creates curiosity by showing us Johnny Depp’s tattoo and then talks about her tattoo of regret. We hang on to her every word wondering, “Where is all this going and how bad can her tattoo really be?”

So that’s Johnny Depp, of course.   And that’s Johnny Depp’s shoulder.   And that’s Johnny Depp’s famous shoulder tattoo.   Some of you might know that, in 1990,   Depp got engaged to Winona Ryder,   and he had tattooed on his right shoulder   “Winona forever.”   And then three years later —   which in fairness, kind of is forever by Hollywood standards —   they broke up,   and Johnny went and got a little bit of repair work done.   And now his shoulder says, “Wino forever.”

Kathryn Schulz, Don’t Regret, Regret. 

  Saying unexpected things or challenging assumptions can get a speech started off right. A herd of wildebeests, a shoal of fish, a flock of birds. Many animals gather in large groups that are among the most wonderful spectacles in the natural world. But why do these groups form? The common answers include things like seeking safety in numbers or hunting in packs or gathering to mate or breed, and all of these explanations, while often true, make a huge assumption about animal behavior, that the animals are in control of their own actions, that they are in charge of their bodies. And that is often not the case. Ed Yong. Zombie Roaches and Other Parasite Tales. TED Talk

 Keys to Success

Memorize your first sentence so you can deliver it with impact. Memorize your whole speech opening if possible. Make sure your first three words have an impact.

Typical Patterns for Speech Openings

  • Get the audience’s attention–called a hook or a grabber.
  • Establish rapport and tell the audience why you care about the topic of why you are credible to speak on the topic.
  • Introduce the speech thesis/preview/good idea.
  • Tell the audience why they should care about this topic.
  • Give a transition statement to the body of the speech.

Step Two: Credibility

First, you hook the audience with your powerful grabber, then you tell them why you are credible to speak on the topic and why the topic is important. If they know your credentials, you would not need to tell them your credibility but you may still want to tell them why you are interested in the topic. Here are a few examples of how some speakers included credibility.

Tell Why You Are Credible

I’m a doctor, but I kind of slipped sideways into research, and now I’m an epidemiologist. Ben Goldacre, Battling Bad Science.  I started studying resilience research a decade ago at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It was an amazing time to be there because the professors who trained me had just picked up the contract to train all 1.1 million American soldiers to be as mentally fit as they always have been physically fit. Lucy Hone: The Three Secrets of Resilient People.  What I’m going to do is to just give a few notes,   and this is from a book I’m preparing called   “Letters to a Young Scientist.”   I’d thought it’d be appropriate to   present it, on the basis that I have had extensive experience   in teaching, counseling scientists across a broad array of fields.   And you might like to hear some of the principles that I’ve developed in doing   that teaching and counseling. EO Wilson: Advice to a Young Scientist. 

Step Three: Tell Why it is Important

Early on in your speech, you should tell the audience why they should care. You should connect the speech to things they care about. This is where you answer, so what, who cares?

You know, I didn’t set out to be a parenting expert. In fact, I’m not very interested in parenting, per se. It’s just that there’s a certain style of parenting these days that is kind of messing up kids, impeding their chances to develop.  Julie Lythcott-Haims, How to Raise Successful Kids – Without Over-Parenting

Step Four: Tell the Purpose of the Talk (aka Preview/ Thesis)

“If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.” – Harvey Diamond, author

Tell the audience your purpose, clearly give them an overview of the main points.  MIT professor, Patrick Winston says one of the best things to add to your speech is an empowerment promise. You want to tell people what they will know at the end of your speech that they didn’t know at the beginning. It’s their reason for being here.  His empowerment promise was, “Today you will see some examples of what you can put in your armory of speaking techniques and it will be the case that one of those examples–some heuristic, some technique, maybe only one will be the one that will get you the job. By the end of the next 60 minutes, you will have been exposed to a lot of ideas, some of which you will incorporate into your own repertoire, and they will ensure that you get the maximum opportunity to have your ideas valued and accepted by the people you speak with.” Notice that this statement told you what to expect and why it mattered.

Here are examples of how various speakers accomplished this.

For years, I’ve been telling people, stress makes you sick. It increases the risk of everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Basically, I’ve turned stress into the enemy. But I have changed my mind about stress, and today, I want to change yours. Kelly McGonigal, How to Make Stress Your Friend.   We’ve been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing, capital B, capital T. It’s a bad thing, and to live with a disability makes you exceptional. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make you exceptional. Stella Young, I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much
What I’m going to show you is all of the main things, all of the main features of my discipline, evidence-based medicine. And I will talk you through all of these and demonstrate how they work, exclusively using examples of people getting stuff wrong. Ben Goldacre, Battling Bad Science.  I would like to think that we (Arab women) poor, oppressed women actually have some useful, certainly hard-earned lessons to share, lessons that might turn out useful for anyone wishing to thrive in the modern world. Here are three of mine. Leila Hoteit, Three Lessons on Success from an Arab businesswoman We are often terrified and fascinated by the power hackers now have. They scare us. But the choices they make have dramatic outcomes that influence us all. So I am here today because I think we need hackers, and in fact, they just might be the immune system for the information age. Sometimes they make us sick, but they also find those hidden threats in our world, and they make us fix it. Keren Elazari. Hackers: The Internet’s Immune System Try This — Inspired by TED Master Class After you write your thesis, send it to three people with the question, “Based on what you read here, what do you think my speech will be about?”  

Putting It All Together

At this point, you know you need to have a grabber, a preview, a credibility statement, and a so-what-who-cares statement.  Let’s take a look at one of the top TED talks of all time by Jamie Oliver. This speech is a good illustration of everything we’ve been talking about so far and how all this works together.

Get the audience’s attention–
called a hook or a grabber.


Establish rapport and tell the audience why you care about the topic or why you are credible to speak on the topic.                
Tell the audience why they should care about this topic.          
Introduce the speech thesis/preview/good idea.    

Give a transition statement
to the body of the speech.

A painted sign that says, "stop"

“Everybody close your eyes.”

I don’t want to close my eyes; it makes me feel awkward and exposed to be in a group of people with my eyes closed. Because of that, I keep my eyes open. The problem is  when I keep my eyes open, I feel like some sort of horrible nonconformist rebel. I feel awkward with my eyes closed and I feel guilty if they are open. Either way, I just feel bad. Besides, half of the time when speakers tell audience members to close their eyes, they forget to tell us when we can open them. If you are wanting me to imagine a story, just tell me to imagine it, don’t make me close my eyes (rant over).

“Can everybody hear me?”

You should plan your opening to be intentional and with power. “Can everybody hear me” is a weak and uncertain statement and this is not the first impression you want to leave. Do a microphone check before the audience members arrive and have someone stand in different corners of the room to make sure you can be heard. Don’t waste your valuable speech time with questions that you should already know the answer to.

“How long do I have to speak?”

You should know that before you begin. Even if the presentations for the day are running over and you are the last speaker, you should ask the MC before you begin. Always plan your first words with power.

“Can you read this?”

You should make your slides big, really big. Test out your slides in advance of your speech, walk all around the room and make sure you can read them. Have a friend check them out as well. You should know they are big enough because you planned for it and tested it.

“Turn off your cell phones and laptops.”

People really hate having things taken away, not to mention that your audience may want to take notes on their devices. Chances are you are speaking to adults, let them determine if it is appropriate to have out their technology.

“I’m sorry, I’m losing my voice.” “I’m stopped up.” “I’m under the weather.”

Stop apologizing! Stop making excuses!  While these lines may be true, they just come of as excuses and can make the audience either feel like you don’t want to be there, or they just feel sorry for you.

“I’m so nervous right now.”

Talking about your nervousness will make you more nervous and will make them look for signs of your nervousness. Just start your speech.

“So, Um, Ok.”

Do not start with hesitation. Plan the first words, memorize the first words, practice the first words.  Do not start with “Ok, so um, now I’d like…” Plan strong and start strong.

Do Not Discuss Your Business with People Watching…Really! I Mean It! Many of us are giving and listening to presentations in an online format.  I have attended numerous presentations this year through Zoom where I have to sit and watch while the organizers engage in personal small talk or deal with the details of the presentation. This is how the speech I recently attended began. “Donna, you are going to share your screen, right?” “Yes. I have my PowerPoint ready to go. Will you push “record” when I give the signal?” “Sure. Where did you say that button is again? Do you think we should wait five more minutes, I think we had more who were coming? Dave, what was the total we were expecting?” “Yeah, we had 116 sign up, but the reminders went out late so this may be all we have. We can give them a few more minutes to log on.” “Donna, How is your dog? Is she still struggling with her cone since her spay surgery? My dog never would wear the cone –she tore her stitches out and broke her wound open. It was terrible. Well, it looks like it is about time to begin, thank you everyone for coming.” If you are organizing an event online, hosting a speech online, giving a presentation online–please keep it professional. Most platforms will allow you to keep the audience in a waiting room until it is time to start. If you have a business to deal with, keep the audience out until you have everything ready to go. Once the audience is in the meeting, you should engage the audience in group-type small talk or you should just start the presentation. In professional settings, you should start the meeting on time. Why punish those who showed up on time to wait for those who aren’t there yet?

A Conversation Over Coffee with Bill Rogers

I asked my long-time friend, Bill Rogers, to write an excerpt to add to the book.  I met Bill when he was the Chief Development Officer for a hospital in Northwest Arkansas and I met him again when he was reinventing himself as a college student getting a Master’s Degree in the theater.  He would love to share a symbolic cup of coffee with you and give you advice about public speaking. 

Perfect morning for a walk, isn’t it? Join me for a cup of coffee? Wonderful. Find us a table and I’ll get our coffee.

There you go; just like you like it. There’s nothing like a great cup of coffee on the patio of your neighborhood coffee shop, is there?

Now that you’re settled in your favorite chair, take a sip, and let that glorious caffeine kick in and do its stuff. Okay, let’s talk.

So, you were asking me about public speaking.

Well, let’s see. Where do we begin?

One of the first pieces of advice I ever received was to imagine that every member of your audience is sitting there in their underwear! Yeah, right. That never worked for me. I tried it once with a local civic group of community leaders both male and female. If the intent of that tidbit is to make you relax, it certainly didn’t work for me. It just made me more self-conscious…and more nervous. I not only got distracted, but I also lost my train of thought, I started sweating, and, of course, imagined myself standing there without clothes. Needless to say, that speech was a disaster and I’ve never used it again. I suggest you don’t either.

In the early days, I also relied very heavily on my typed-up speech. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that unless you find yourself reading it word for word as I did. Nothing is more boring nor puts an audience to sleep quicker than a speaker with their nose down reading a speech. There’s no connection and connection with your audience is key.

As you know, I love theatre and I’ve done a bit of acting over the years. Early on, I learned that the quicker I learned my lines, the more I could play, experiment, and shape my character. It relaxed me and gave me enormous freedom. It led me to find a mantra for myself: “With discipline comes freedom.” This freedom will allow you to improvise as your audience or situation dictates while still conveying the core message of your presentation. That discipline and its resulting freedom apply to public speaking of any kind and, I think, will serve you well.

Another old adage we’ve all heard is Aristotle’s advice. You know the one. No? Well, roughly, it’s to tell your audience what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell them what you just said. That’s the basic formula for public speaking. And it works as a good place to start.

However, effective speaking is much more and, to me, it starts with a story or even a simple sentence.

You know the feeling you get when you read the first sentence of a good book and it just reaches out and grabs you? That should be your goal with every presentation. One sentence to capture your audience’s attention. Something that causes them to lean forward. Something that sparks their imagination.

It doesn’t have to be all that profound either. It can be something very simple. A personal story that relates to your topic. A relevant fact or statistic that defines or illustrates the issue or subject matter at hand.

A couple of classics come to mind. The first is Alice Walker’s, “The Color of Purple.”

“You better not tell nobody but God.”

And the second one is from my favorite novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee.

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm broken at the elbow.”

Both sentences hook you immediately. A few simple words speak volumes. After reading or hearing those words, you naturally lean in. You want to learn more. You want to find out what happens next. Every effective speech or presentation does the same thing.

Of course, make sure that the first and last thing you say to your audience is both relevant and appropriate. I share this out of an abundance of caution. I once worked for an internationally recognized and well-respected children’s research hospital and I was given the privilege to speak at a national educational convention. The room was filled wall to wall with teachers. I thought I’d be cute and add a little levity. I opened my presentation with this line, “You know, I’ve had nightmares like this…” Instead of the roars of laughter, I was expecting, a wave of silence ensued. Not only was the line not funny, but it was also wholly inappropriate and I immediately lost my audience. Not my best day. Learn from my mistakes.

Finally, let’s touch on the importance of approaching a speech as a conversation. You and I are sitting here enjoying our coffee and having a friendly, relaxed conversation. Strive for that every chance you get. You may not always have that luxury. Some speeches and presentations simply demand formality. But even in those cases, you can usually make it somewhat conversational. I always try to write my speeches in a conversational style. Like I’m talking to a friend…or trying to make a new one.

So, to recap: tell a story, learn your lines, hook your audience with a simple sentence, close with a question or call to action, use repetition, keep it conversational, treat your audience as a friend, and give yourself permission to relax.

Above all, be yourself. Allow yourself to be as relaxed as you are with those closest to you. If you’re relaxed, if you try to think of your audience as a friend, then, in most cases, they too will relax and they will root for you. Even if they disagree with what you are telling them, they will respect you and they will listen.

How about another cup?

Key Takeaways

Remember This!

  • The most important part of your speech is the introduction because if you don’t get their attention, they are not listening to the rest of what you have to say.
  • To get attention, tell a story, use humor, share a quote, tell a startling fact, show a prop, ask a question, reference the occasion.
  • In addition to the grabber, a good introduction should establish rapport and tell the audience why you are credible.
  • An introduction often includes a “so what who cares statement” to tell the audience why this should matter to them.
  • The thesis/preview should be clear enough that someone could read just that sentence or couple of sentences and know what the speech is about.

Please share your feedback, suggestions, corrections, and ideas.

I want to hear from you. 

Do you have an activity to include? Did you notice a typo that I should correct? Are you planning to use this as a resource and do you want me to know about it? Do you want to tell me something that really helped you?

Click here to share your feedback. 

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Welcome Speech for a Scientific Conference: Examples & Tips

Matthieu Chartier, PhD.

Published on 15 Feb 2022

Having a well written welcome speech that you’re confident about goes a long way in overcoming public speaking nervousness.

A great welcome speech sets the tone for the conference. It makes everyone feel welcome and creates the appropriate environment for the exchange of knowledge. The speech should broadly outline the contents of the event and, most importantly, make everyone feel excited for what’s to come.

In this article, you will find our best tips to create a successful welcome speech and some examples with analysis for inspiration.

Quick Tips for a successful welcome speech

Formal vs. informal language.

The first thing you should decide is whether you want to use formal or informal language. For larger events that include scientists of various fields where everybody might not know each other, you may want to use formal language. For smaller yearly conferences for researchers in your field where most people know each other, it’s common to use informal language.

I find that, in general, a rather informal or casual speech is more successful. That way you set the tone and bring everyone to the same level, promoting questions, comments, and socialization during the event.

Greet and welcome everyone

Start with a warm welcome. As alluded before, this can range from very formal (“Good morning to all attendees”) to informal (“Hello and welcome, everyone!”). These will be your first words, so you need to grab everyone’s attention—use a clear, strong voice.

A smile goes a long way to make everyone feel welcome and in a good mood. Make eye contact as you start addressing the room.

It can be great to inject a bit of humor, if appropriate. It could be something as simple as, “We are lucky to be in such a beautiful location with so many beaches close by. I hope that is not the main reason you’re here!”.

Talk about the event’s history and purpose

Is it a first-time event, a yearly conference put on by a scientific organization? In any case, you’ll want to mention the motivation behind the conference, what brings you together. If the event is related to a specific organization, you can mention its history and purpose.

Mention any distinguished guests

It is common for scientific conferences to have one or more distinguished guests or speakers. Mention them and thank them for accepting the invitation to participate. Make sure you have their names, credentials and affiliations correct.  

Thank creators and/or organizers

If the event is being held for the first time, thank the creators by name. Give some words of appreciation to the organizing committee. You don’t need to mention every single person involved, but rather the essential ones.

State the main topic(s)

Mention the main topic(s) of the conference, the common interests for all attendees. For annual conferences of scientific organizations, a specific subject within the field is usually chosen for each year. For example, for an annual meeting of an immunology organization, the year's topic could be “Infectious Diseases” or “Immunotherapies.”

Touch on the agenda

Briefly outline the event’s agenda. You can mention whether there will be sessions with specific (sub)topics, poster presentations, spaces for exchange and networking. Don’t get  into too many details. You can direct people to the conference brochure, if there is one, for specifics on the schedule.

Motivate everybody

End your speech on a high note by getting everyone excited about the talks to come. Highlight all the strengths of the conference: any high-impact research that will be shown, the variety of topics that will be covered, the great number of attendees, the different countries represented.

Introduce the first speaker

If the first speaker follows your welcome speech, don’t forget to introduce him or her. Introduce them with their full name and credentials and give a brief description of their career achievements.

Rehearse a few times

Practice with colleagues and friends to get some feedback and familiarize yourself with your speech. You want to be familiar enough that you don’t need to look down at your notes constantly. However, don’t over rehearse. You don’t want to sound robotic, but rather natural and conversational.

Be sure you know how to pronounce all the names in your speech. Make eye contact with the audience and with specific attendees as you mention their names.

Keep it brief

In general, you should keep your speech short, usually around 5 minutes. Consult with the organizing committee so you know how long they expect you to talk.

In-person vs. virtual event

Virtual events are very common right now and likely will be for a while. This creates some challenges when giving a welcome speech. Making eye contact with the attendees is not possible when you’re on a video call. That being said, you can still give a great speech and get people excited virtually. Just make sure that people can clearly see and hear you before you start.    

Welcome speech examples

1. welcome and opening remarks - 2015 coast/ssew symposium.

In the above example of opening remarks for a scientific symposium , the speaker starts by welcoming everyone with a smile and lots of eye contact. It seems the attendees are in the same field of research and among familiar faces. Accordingly, her language is informal. She adds a bit of humor when she talks about collecting money in a bowl.

She follows by explaining the origin of the organization that the symposium is for, along with the main topics that will be covered. In the middle, she asks  the audience some questions to keep them engaged. Finally, she creates positive expectations by presenting a “sneak peek” of brand-new research and mentioning “leaders” in the field of microbiome.    

 2. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering Welcome Speech

Read this welcome speech for an annual international conference.

This seems to be a scientific conference with attendees from various countries and from a broad range of fields. The formal language used is therefore appropriate. The speaker welcomes the attendees and introduces the distinguished keynote speakers.

The origins and goals of the conference are outlined. He broadly describes the topics that will be discussed. Then, he thanks the organizing committee, companies and volunteers involved. Finally, he mentions “internationally notorious speakers,” a great way to spark people’s interest.   

 3. Welcoming Address | Dale Mullennix

In this welcoming address, the speaker starts by warmly welcoming the audience. He uses rather informal language since it seems this is a regularly held event where most people know each other. He throws in some humor, directly addresses the audience, and asks them questions to grab their attention at the beginning.

By conveying the value that the attendees will find in the lectures to come, he creates anticipation. He makes lots of eye contact throughout and doesn’t even have notes! By the end, he tells a personal story and connects it to the theme of the event.

With these tips and examples, we hope that you are inspired to write a great welcome speech.  Remember to keep it brief, conversational, and not overly formal, unless necessary. Eye contact and a smile go a long way.

If you’re looking for more general conference presenting tips, you should read our 15 Best Tips for Presenting at a Conference . 

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Starting a presentation in english: methods and examples.

  • By Jake Pool

opening speech examples for seminar

If you’re going to make it in the professional world, most likely you’ll have to give a presentation in English at some point. No reason to get nervous!

Most of the work involved lies in the introduction. You may or may not need an English presentation PPT file, your topic, audience, or time limit may vary, but a strong opening is a must no matter what! Everything that follows can build from the opening outline you present to your audience.

Let’s look at some guidelines for starting a presentation in English. If you can master this part, you’ll never have to worry about the rest!

Opening in a Presentation in English

While it’s important to have your entire presentation organized and outlined, planning and organization are especially important in the introduction. This is what will guide you through a clear and concise beginning. Let’s look at how to start a presentation with well-organized thoughts .

Introduction Outline

  • Introduce yourself and welcome everyone.
  • State the purpose of your presentation
  • Give a short overview of the presentation

As we say, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. (No need for a more detailed English presentation script!) Let’s examine the first step.

1. Introduce Yourself & Welcome Everyone

The self-introduction is your opportunity to make a good first impression. Be sure to open with a warm welcome and use language that is familiar and natural. Based on your audience, there are a few different expressions you can use to start your presentation.

If you’re presenting to coworkers who may already know you:

  • Hello, [name] here. I would like to thank you all for your time. As you may know, I [describe what you do/your job title] I look forward to discussing [topic] today.
  • Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone. Thank you for being here. For those who don’t know me, my name is [name], and for those who know me, hello again.

If you’re presenting to people you’ve never met:

  • Hello everyone, it’s nice to meet you all. My name is [name] and I am the [job/title].
  • Hello. Welcome to [event]. My name is [name] and I am the [job/title]. I’m glad you’re all here.

There are certainly more ways to make an introduction. However, it’s generally best to follow this format:

  • Start with a polite welcome and state your name.
  • Follow with your job title and/or the reason you’re qualified to speak on the topic being discussed.

2. State the Purpose of Your Presentation

Now that your audience knows who you are and your qualifications, you can state the purpose of your presentation. This is where you clarify to your audience what you’ll be talking about.

So, ask yourself, “ What do I want my audience to get from this presentation? ”

  • Do you want your audience to be informed?
  • Do you need something from your audience?
  • Do you want them to purchase a product?
  • Do you want them to do something for the community or your company?

With your goal in mind, you can create the next couple of lines of your presentation. Below are some examples of how to start.

  • Let me share with you…
  • I’d like to introduce you to [product or service]
  • Today I want to discuss…
  • I want to breakdown for you [topic]
  • Let’s discuss…
  • Today I will present the results of my research on [topic]
  • By the end of this presentation, you’ll understand [topic]
  • My goal is to explain…
  • As you know, we’ll be talking about…

When talking about the purpose of your presentation, stick to your goals. You purpose statement should be only one to three sentences. That way, you can give your audience a clear sense of purpose that sets them up for the rest of the presentation.

3. A Short Overview of the Presentation

The final step in starting your presentation is to give a short outline of what you’ll be presenting. People like a map of what to expect from a presentation.

It helps them organize their thoughts and gives a sense of order. Also, it lets the audience know why they’re listening to you. This is what you’ll use to grab their attention, and help them stay focused throughout the presentation.

Here are some examples of how you can outline your presentation:

  • Today, I’m going to cover… Then we’ll talk about… Lastly, I’ll close on…
  • We’re going to be covering some key information you need to know, including…
  • My aim with this presentation is to get you to… To do that we’ll be talking about…
  • I’ve divided my presentation into [number] sections… [List the sections]
  • Over the next [length of your presentation] I’m going to discuss…

That’s it! It’s as simple as 1-2-3. If you have a fear of public speaking or are not confident about presenting to a group of people, follow these three steps. It’s a simple structure that can get you off to a good start. With that in mind, there are other ways to bring your introduction to the next level too! Read on for bonus tips on how to really engage your audience, beyond the basics.

For a Strong Presentation in English, Engage your Audience

Presentations aren’t everyone’s strongest ability, and that’s OK. If you’re newer to presenting in English, the steps above are the basics to getting started. Once you’re more comfortable with presenting, though, you can go a step further with some extra tricks that can really wow your audience.

Mastering the skill of engaging an audience will take experience. Fortunately, there are many famous speakers out there you can model for capturing attention. Also, there are some common techniques that English-speakers use to gain an audience’s attention.

*How and when you use these techniques in your introduction is at your discretion, as long as you cover the 3 steps of the introduction outline that we discussed earlier.*

Do or say something shocking.

The purpose of shocking your audience is to immediately engage them. You can make a loud noise and somehow relate the noise to your presentation. Or, you can say, “ Did you know that… ” and follow with a shocking story or statistic. Either way, the objective is to create surprise to draw their attention.

Tell a story

Telling a story related to your presentation is a great way to get the audience listening to you.

You can start by saying, “ On my way to [location] the other day… ” or “ On my way here, I was reminded of… ” and then follow with a story. A good story can make your presentation memorable.

Ask your audience to take part

Sometimes a good introduction that captures attention will involve asking for help from the audience. You can ask the audience to play a quick game or solve a puzzle that’s related to your presentation. Also, you could engage the audience with a group exercise. This is a great way to get people involved in your presentation.

There are many more ways to engage the audience, so get creative and see what you can think up! Here are some resources that will help you get started.

Also, if you want to get better at public speaking (and help your English speaking too!), a great organization to know about is the Toastmasters . The organization is dedicated to helping you be a better speaker, and there are many local groups in America. They offer free lessons and events to help you master your English speaking, and also offer additional help to paying members.

The Takeaway

A presentation in English? No problem, as long as your introduction sets you up for success . Admittedly, this can be easier said than done. Native speakers and non-native speakers alike sometimes struggle with getting a good start on their English presentation. But the advice above can help you get the confidence you need to lay a good foundation for your next speech !

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How to Start a Speech — 12 Foolproof Ways to Grab Your Audience!

How to Start a Speech — 12 Foolproof Ways to Grab Your Audience!

Want to move audiences? Develop a powerful opening! Here is how to start a speech, including 12 foolproof ways to grab audiences in public speaking.

Let's talk about how to start a speech. When it comes to persuading, inspiring, or influencing an audience, your opening is by far the most important moment in your performance.

So how do you begin a presentation in ways that  will get an audience on your side and start you on the road to speaking memorably?

Learn this skill and 101 tips and tricks for more successful speaking in my Public Speaking Handbook, How to Give a Speech . Also available as an Amazon bestseller!

Dr. Gary Genard's Amazon best seller for business speeches, How to Give a Speech.

Let's imagine that you're finally pitching to that audience of decision makers. It's the high-stakes opportunity you've been waiting for, and you've put together a killer presentation. There's just one problem: how do you start the thing off with a bang? Remember, anyone can give an ordinary presentation. It's your job to stand out from the crowd for career success.

Your Opening Sets the Tone of Your Presentation

You probably already know you need to begin with power and purpose. You're just not sure  how  . . . or for that matter, exactly why.

The answer is that, when it comes to influencing listeners in speeches and presentations, two concepts explain why your beginning and ending need to be particularly strong. I'll discuss both concepts here, then provide some powerful tools for your opening gambit: your speech Introduction .

Ready to set your audience on fire?

This article is available as a free PDF .  Click here to download "How to Start a Speech - 12 Foolproof Ways to Grab Your Audience!" Learn and practice starting out powerfully!

Your Introduction and Conclusion Need to Be Strong

The two concepts concerning why you need to start and end strongly, are  primacy  and  recency . Primacy states that people remember most vividly what they hear at the beginning of a speech. Recency  says those same people will strongly recall what you say at the end. In terms of public speaking, this translates into your introduction and conclusion. And you really do need to start early.   Here's  how to create an opening your audience will remember .

In more practical terms, there are three specific reasons why your introduction needs to be engaging and interesting immediately :

(1) Audiences make judgments about you and your message in the first minute. After that point, you'll be able to change those opinions about as easily as you can change a hamster into a ham sandwich. So here's  how to be strong in the first 60 seconds of your speech .

(2) Your opening sets the entire tone of your presentation (including whether you'll be interesting or not).

(3) This is when you introduce your message and tell the audience why they should listen.

Sound like a tall order? It isn't, if you use the seven key components of successful presentations . Your audience needs to be both fully engaged and predisposed favorably toward you and your message. Neither will happen unless you can  grab   their  attention,  so they're onboard when you spin your verbal magic. Keep reading to learn how that's done. 

Ready to boost your influence with stakeholders? Grab your copy of my book, Speak for Leadership . Learn an executive speech coach's secrets! Get it today here or on Amazon .

Speak for Leadership by Gary genard

Using Creativity in Business Presentations

Achieving the objective of a 'grabbing' opening takes thought, a bit of imagination, and yes, a little creativity. The good news is that since you know your topic well and you're psyched up for the big game (it's an audience of decision-makers, remember?), you should be well positioned to succeed.

Primacy won't have much of a chance to operate, though, if you use what I call the 'Today, I'm going to talk about . . .' opening. This is boring! Be on the lookout instead for something that will pique the interest of your listeners, and perhaps surprise them. And here's something else you absolutely need to know: 20 ways to connect with an audience for lasting influence .

A few minutes of focused thinking should be all you need to know how to come up with an effective opening. And remember to avoid that I call introducing your introduction. That sounds like this: 'Let me start out with a story . . .', or, 'I heard a very funny joke the other day . . . ' Or even the inexplicable 'Before I begin . . . ' since you've already begun!

Just  tell  us the story, the joke, or the in-the-know reference that will delight your listeners. But if you signal your effect beforehand, you water down its potency and its power to surprise.

So how can you be completely focused and on your game?

12 Powerful Ways to Start a Speech or Presentation

As a springboard to launching your presentation with verve and originality, here are a dozen rhetorical devices you can use. Each of them is an effective 'speech hook that you can use to start any speech or presentation:

  • Startling statement
  • Personal anecdote or experience
  • Expert opinion
  • Sound effect
  • Physical object or demonstration
  • Testimony or success story

You could literally think of dozens more from your own experience or that of your audience. Remember, the best grabbers engage an audience immediately, both intellectually and emotionally. Interestingly, these same devices can be used to conclude in a way that keeps your audience thinking about what you said. It's all part of my six rules for effective public speaking .

Coming up with an exciting grabber and clincher involves some work on your part. But the rewards if you're successful more than justify the effort.

Famous Speech Openings  

How about a few examples? Here are four great openings that illustrate some of the grabbers listed above:

Jesus , Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." — Startling statement.

Bill Clinton , 1993 speech in Memphis to ministers (after having heard himself introduced as "Bishop Clinton"): "You know, in the last ten months, I've been called a lot of things, but nobody's called me a bishop yet. When I was about nine years old, my beloved and now departed grandmother, who was a very wise woman, looked at me and she said, 'You know, I believe you could be a preacher if you were just a little better boy.'" — Humor

Jane Fonda in her TED Talk "Life's Third Act":  "There have been many revolutions over the last century, but perhaps none as significant as the longevity revolution. We are living on average today 34 years longer than our great-grandparents did. Think about that: that's an entire second adult lifetime that's been added to our lifespan." — Statistic.

Steve Jobs , 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University: "Truth be told, I never graduated from college, and this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today, I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it, no big deal—just three stories. The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another eighteen months or so before I really quit. So why'd I drop out? It started before I was born." — Story, with a seamless transition into his speech. 

Do you like mysteries and supernatural suspense? — Here's something for you!

London, 1888. 'Jack the Ripper' is terrorizing London.   Scotland Yard surgeon/detective  Dr. William Scarlet is about to uncover his identity.  Year of the Rippers :   A Supernatural Thriller !

Year of the Rippers - Jack the Ripper's Identity Revealed At Last!

You should follow me on Twitter  here .

Cropped headshot for Speak for Leadership back cover -- 8.30.21

Gary Genard  is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking training and overcoming speaking fear. His company, Boston-based The Genard Method offers  live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching   and  corporate group training  worldwide. In 2022 for the ninth consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as  One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals .  He is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller  How to Give a Speech . His second book,  Fearless Speaking ,  was named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in videoconferences,  Speaking Virtually   offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings.  His latest book is  Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets .  Contact Gary here.   

Tags: leadership skills , public speaking training , public speaking , business presentations , public speaking tips , Speaking for Leadership , Public Speaking Techniques , how to start a speech , how to give a speech , speech introduction , how to persuade an audience , how to open a speech , speech coach , speech coaching , public speaking for leadership , presentations , The Genard Method , Dr. Gary Genard , CEO , speak for leadership , public speaking training company , executive coaching , keynote speaker training , how to start a presentation , motivational speaker training , TEDx speaker training , public speaking coaching , speech hooks , speech training , speech expert , online public speaking training , executive coach , public speaking books , leadership books , books on leadership , leadership expert , leadership authors , executive speech coaching , speech for leadership , public speaking for doctors , public speaking for lawyers , public speaking for engineers , public speaking for IT professionals , public speaking for data scientists , public speaking for scientists , public speaking for business , how to win friends and influence people , public speaking for business executives , talk like TED , Red Season , Dr. William Scarlet Mysteries

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How to Write a Welcome Speech | Academic Conference Edition

Have you ever been to a conference where the welcome speech left you wanting more information or didn’t make you excited for what’s to come? Yikes! You may not be alone in that sentiment.

But were you invited to give the welcome speech for the upcoming conference you’re attending, and want to do a better job? Fun stuff, congratulations!

We can’t take the conference jitters away, but we can help you learn about welcome speeches and how to write one in this article. In the end, you’ll see how Orvium helps the research community prepare for a conference.

What is a Welcome Speech?

A welcome speech (or address) sets the tone for a conference or event. The speech must describe what’s to come and get everyone excited for the event and feel welcome. It should also create an appropriate environment for knowledge sharing.

Anyone can deliver a welcome speech, but a minimum of excellent presentation skills, fun and creative demeanor, and the ability to be personable are major pluses. If you haven’t given a speech of this caliber before, remember that preparing your notes, writing your speech, and delivering it are all a part of the process . Practice makes perfect.

An excellent welcome speech will unite the audience, helping them come together for a common purpose.

See some examples of welcome speeches here , and learn how to write your own below.

How to Write a Welcome Speech for a Conference

1. get the event focus and tone right.

Since a welcome speech sets the tone for a conference or event, you must ensure it’s informative and interesting. While thinking about this, decide whether or not you’ll use formal or informal language . How you choose, structure, and deliver your words matters. These all come together to create the “tone”.

To decide between formal and informal language for your welcome speech, consult the graph below:

opening speech examples for seminar

Typically, you’ll want to use formal language for a conference (but not overly formal) depending on your audience demographics and ensure everyone can understand you. A welcome speech has the following structure:

  • opening and welcome
  • theme and main topics
  • outcome (or agenda)
  • thank yous (to attendees, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, speakers, etc.)
  • a closing statement.

Pro tip : you want to connect with your audience, grab their attention, and get them excited about the event, so start with a strong but warm opening. Don’t mention everyone involved throughout your speech, as that can get lengthy; instead, mention the essential speakers, organizations, associations, or volunteers. Finally, end the speech on a good note to get everyone excited with stats and pertinent information, such as:

  • the high number of attendees
  • any high-impact research that will be shown
  • the different represented countries
  • the variety of covered topics.

If you don’t know where to start, follow this welcome speech planner and read the information below.

2. Take Notes and Draft an Outline

From our Full Guide to Planning an Academic Conference, you know that your welcome speech must add value to the conference , just as each keynote and session speaker does. To do so, research (and reach out to) essential participants (keynote, session speakers, vendors, etc.) to make sure you know what kind of approach you can take with your speech. Humor works in the right circumstances, but you must spend time thinking it through; not all jokes will be taken lightly, and you want to avoid any misunderstandings.

Remember, your goal is to unite and bring together like-minded individuals who all have a common purpose, that of advancing and sharing knowledge .

In your notes or outline, you’ll want to include the following steps:

  • Welcome the audience - use a clear and strong voice to welcome all attendees and grab their attention.
  • an example of an informal greeting: “Hello and welcome, everyone!”
  • an example of a formal greeting: “Good evening to all attendees. It’s wonderful to see you all.”
  • Introduce the event - say the event’s name, purpose, and age or history (if it’s a repeat event or conference), and talk a bit about the event’s organization.
  • Mention any distinguished guests - ensure you get their names, affiliations, and credentials correct.
  • State the main topics - the main topics are the attendees’ common interests, so you may choose to present a specific subject within the field selected that year.
  • Outline the agenda - mention whether there’ll be sessions with specific poster presentations, (sub)topics, or areas and spaces to exchange and discuss ideas or network. Direct attendees to the conference website, content management tool , or brochure for schedule specifics.
  • Motivate everyone - highlight any conference strengths and warmly introduce the first speaker or entertainment.

Important to note : for virtual events, ensure that attendees can see and hear you clearly and look up from your notes or outline often.

3. Write Your Speech

As you’re finalizing your notes or draft, ensure that your speech is around the five-minute mark to avoid boredom or giving the audience too much information right off the bat (to not take away from any speakers). Consult with the organizing committee about a time frame, as the length of the speech can vary from conference to conference.

Pro tip : add individual greetings as necessary for special guests, speakers, or sponsors.

4. Rehearse Your Speech

Once you’ve done the necessary research, outlined, and written your welcome speech, it’s time to rehearse it a few times to familiarize yourself with your speech. Read it out loud and practice it with colleagues or friends to get their input and feedback on areas of possible improvement.

However, don’t over-rehearse your speech . You want to still sound natural, not robotic or like you’re reading a script.

Again, ensure you know how to pronounce everyone’s name and credentials as you’re rehearsing, and practice making enough eye contact with the audience or specific attendees as you’re speaking.

Orvium Makes You Feel Welcome

No one can take the nerves of giving the opening speech at a conference away; however, Orvium can make it less nerve-wracking. If you’re having trouble finding colleagues or like-minded individuals to review your speech outline and give you feedback, you can reach out to one of the Orvium communities to get to know other people in the field.

Who knows, maybe you’ll meet members and form friendships that’ll last a lifetime.

As for giving your welcome speech, remember to get the tone right, keep it brief, and don’t make it overly formal (unless absolutely necessary). Also, a smile and a lot of eye contact go a long way . Let’s get people excited about new scientific discoveries!  Want to see more of what we do? Check out our platform to discover what matters to you.

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Roberto Rabasco

+10 years’ experience working for Deutsche Telekom, Just Eat or Asos. Leading, designing and developing high-availability software solutions, he built his own software house in '16

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Welcome Speech for Seminar - 10 Lines, Short and Long Speech

Welcome speech for seminar.

A welcome speech is given at the beginning of an event or gathering, usually by a host or organiser, that welcomes the audience and sets the tone for the event. It is typically used to introduce the theme or purpose of the event and to thank any special guests or sponsors for their participation. Welcome speeches often include a brief overview of the events planned for the gathering and may include a call to action or an invitation to participate.

Welcome Speech for Seminar - 10 Lines, Short and Long Speech

10 Lines Welcome Speech for Seminar

Good morning everyone, welcome to our seminar today!

We are honoured to have such a distinguished group of teachers and students joining us.

Today's event promises an engaging and enlightening experience for all of us.

Let's open our minds and hearts to new ideas as we come together to learn new facts and share knowledge.

I would like to warmly welcome our guest speakers and facilitators, who have generously agreed to share their expertise with us.

Let us all take advantage of this opportunity to grow and learn together.

We have an exciting lineup of topics and activities for the day, so let's make the most of it!

A big thank you to our organising committee for putting this seminar together and for all the hard work that went into it.

Let's all work together to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where all voices are heard and respected.

So, let's begin this journey of learning and discovery together! Thank you for being here.

Short Welcome Speech for Seminar

On behalf of the student council, I am honoured to welcome all of the teachers and students who have gathered here today for this seminar. It is truly a privilege to have the opportunity to learn from such experienced and knowledgeable educators.

As students, we constantly seek ways to expand our knowledge and improve our understanding of the world. This seminar is a perfect opportunity for us to do just that, as we can hear from experts in various fields and learn about new and exciting research. To the students here today, I want to remind you to make the most of this opportunity.

I want to thank the teachers who have organised this event and generously donated their time and expertise to make this seminar a reality. Your dedication to education is truly inspiring, and we are very grateful for this opportunity to learn from you.

A special welcome is also extended to the guest speakers joining us today. We appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise, and I am confident that everyone here will gain something from your presentation.

In conclusion, this seminar will be a valuable and informative experience for all of us. So let's make the most of this opportunity and take away something new and exciting to share with our peers. Thanks again to all the teachers and guest speakers for making this seminar possible.

Long Welcome Speech for Seminar

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to this seminar! I am honoured to be here today as the student representative, welcoming all of you to this event.

First and foremost, I would like to welcome our esteemed teachers and faculty members who have taken the time to come to this seminar and share their knowledge and expertise with us. Your dedication and commitment to our education are genuinely appreciated, and we are grateful for the opportunity to learn from you.

I would also like to welcome all of the students who have made an effort to attend this seminar. Your presence here today demonstrates your desire to learn and grow, and I'm looking forward to learning and growing with you. This seminar is a chance for us to challenge ourselves and broaden our perspectives.

Today's seminar is an important event for all of us, as it will provide us with valuable insights and information on a topic that is essential to our education and future careers. The theme of this seminar is [topic], and we have gathered some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the field to speak to us today.

As students, we are all aware of the importance of [topic] in our lives. Whether we are studying it in our classes or planning to pursue a career in this field, understanding this subject is crucial for our success. The speakers today have been hand-picked to provide us with the most up-to-date and relevant information on this topic, and I know that we will all benefit significantly from their presentations.

In addition to the keynote speeches, we will also be holding interactive panel discussions, which will allow for an open exchange of ideas and opinions between the speakers and the attendees. This will be an excellent opportunity for everyone to learn from one another and gain new insights. Apart from the intellectual stimulation, we have also taken care of your physical well-being. We will be providing refreshments and snacks throughout the day, ensuring that you stay energised and focused.

The importance of this event cannot be overstated, and I would like to take a moment to appreciate the hard work, dedication, and the time spent by our organisers in putting it together. They have worked tirelessly to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently, and I would like to thank them for their efforts.

I would also like to remind you all that this seminar is not just about learning from the experts but also about networking and building connections. We have the opportunity to meet and interact with other students and professionals who share our interests and passions, and these connections can be precious in our future careers.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you for being here today, and I hope that you will make the most of this opportunity to learn and grow. I am excited to hear the presentations and participate in the interactive sessions, and I look forward to the discussions and connections that will be made.

Applications for Admissions are open.

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How to nail your webinar welcome speech

Don’t get tongue-tied before going live. Here are a few tips and a template to write a perfect webinar script and nail your next welcome speech for an engaging live webinar virtual event.

Masooma Memon

An unfocused, long-winded presentation introduction could chase someone off before you’ve even gotten the webinar started. When an attendee leaves a webinar early, it puts a dent in the presenter’s confidence. 

To make an immediate splash and connect with your audience, presenters need strong but short opening remarks. You should hook the audience with compelling storytelling and set expectations from the get-go — and a succinct, engaging webinar welcome speech can help them do just that.

But what exactly makes a perfect webinar welcome speech? Here’s where to start: 

  • It’s short : We recommend a webinar “welcome” between 60 seconds and three minutes .  
  • It’s approachable: Find the line between being prepared and keeping things loose enough to engage your audience naturally.
  • Do they get exclusive access to information or content? 
  • A free trial of your product? 
  • A credit for a service that’s only unlocked by staying to the end?

In this guide, we’ll break down how to write a welcome speech and walk you through the essential parts of creating the perfect webinar script.

Download our free webinar speaker guidelines

Boost your speaker’s confidence with our webinar speaker guidelines. provide expert tips on lighting, camera angles, and what not to wear for your next live event., in this article:.

5 elements of the perfect webinar welcome speech

Before writing a welcome address for a webinar, you’ll need to divide your intro into a few important sections.

We’ve broken down the steps below to help guide you through the process.

1. Start with a greeting and thank attendees for their time

When greeting your webinar attendees, remember that your team members work across regions, time zones, and even countries. Make sure to use a greeting that isn’t time-sensitive (e.g., “good morning”) and keep it succinct. “Hello and welcome” is always a safe choice. 

After greeting them, thank attendees for their time upfront – don’t wait until the end. Make sure they feel valued by sharing some appreciation, but keep it simple and sincere. And set initial expectations by sharing how long your webinar presentation will last.

“Hello and welcome to our [type of event] . In this 45-minute webinar, we hope you learn [list a few key takeaways] . Thank you for taking the time to join us today.”

💡 Pro tip: Include the “how” in your webinar introduction

German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus says people forget most of what they learn within an hour. And according to Ebbinghaus’s “ Forgetting Curve ,” humans typically forget around 75% of what they’ve learned within two days. 

One way to improve attendees’ memory is to explain how what they’re going to learn will benefit them. If the reason is clear, their brains will prioritize the information.

2. Preview the topic

After thanking your audience, give a brief overview of the topic so you can continue explaining to them why the webinar is worth their time (even more on this later).

Sharing a cheat sheet, workbook, or template at the end of the event? Now’s the time you share that, as well. Nothing hooks people like free goodies. Be clear about what your audience can expect and any takeaways they’ll receive:

“We’ll cover X, so you can learn Y. We’ve also got a free cheat sheet for you at the end of the session, so stay tuned to learn more.”

“In this masterclass, we’ll share six secret copywriting tips to write better ads with higher conversion rates. Whether you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, business owner, or another digital marketing professional, you’ll leave feeling ridiculously confident about making money from online business advertising. And with our free copywriting cheat sheet at the end — stay tuned for that one — you can start moving customers through your sales funnel today.”

When previewing your topic, keep the focus on attendee benefits and don’t go into too much detail about the webinar content or host yet.

💡 Pro tip: Use power words to stir emotion

Some examples of power words include:

  • High-converting
  • Ridiculously

You can boost your audience’s interest further by calling your webinar a “masterclass” or “seminar.” The word “presentation” sounds too formal, and “webinar” is used often, so consider a different distinction.

3. Handle housekeeping thoroughly but briefly

You’ve shared the topic and have set some expectations — now it’s time to let people know how they can participate in your webinar. 

A recent HubSpot survey asked participants which element they’d most like to see covered in a webinar, and the most popular response — at 22% — is “A host or presenter that takes questions from the audience.” Talk to your attendees about polls, chat, and other features you’ve planned for audience engagement .

“To make sure we’re helping you as best as we can on [topic] , we have a chat box to collect your questions. We’ll also have [share engagement tactics , such as polls or social media tags] .”

It’s better to show, not tell, at this point, though. Some ways to do so:

  • Explain exactly where they can find the chat box in the webinar software tools (e.g., “On the right of your screen is a …”).
  • Show an annotated screenshot with the chat box circled in red, so people can spot it on their own screens.

Then spell out how people can engage and when you’ll be responding to them:

“Feel free to drop questions on the topic or share your struggles and experiences. We’ll answer your questions by the end of each guest session.”
“The moderator will collect the most upvoted questions so we can answer them for you at the end of the presentation.”

Go on to extend help: “If you have any questions at this point, feel free to drop them in the chat box below.”

💡 Pro tip: Where/how will you share the webinar?

This is also an important time to share whether the webinar recording will be available later. If you also plan to share the presentation deck or any other materials, be sure to communicate that as well so attendees know how to access and use them.

4. Introduce your speakers

Ideally, it makes sense to tell people who they’re watching on their screens as you welcome them in the beginning.

But you don’t want to go into the details of your experience if you’re also the speaker. The reason? Attendees will forget about your expertise if you dig into housekeeping after introducing yourself. So you’ll need to reintroduce yourself and other guests or topical mentors (if there are any), which will stretch your webinar welcome speech.

So a good, natural move is to throw in your one-line introduction at the start and share more about your expertise later on. However, it does depend on your role (moderator vs. host vs. speaker).

When sharing your experience as a speaker, add a pinch of storytelling to your introduction. But remember to keep it short. Try this three-step storytelling formula :

  • Hook attendees by asking a question or sharing unexpected challenges.
  • Appeal to attendees’ emotions by building on the struggle.
  • Close with how you solved the problem (including the results you delivered) or some quick, memorable insights.

Now let’s talk about how to introduce guests. Aim to keep it natural. Rehearse so you don’t have to read it from your script.

Share each guest’s name, background, and experience. It’s best to include guests’ expertise by sharing the results they’ve driven.

✅ Example: 

“Shane has written ads that have driven $ 6 million in revenue for their clients.” This shows why a guest is the best person they can learn from on the topic.

💡 Pro tip: Keep it brief

Don’t take long with guest introductions and thanking sponsors. Instead of orating their entire history, choose specifics from their experience that are relevant to the webinar topic.

5. Reiterate the value of the event and get started

Note that throughout the introduction, you’ve shared reasons for attendees to stay. The topic, guest list, and takeaway all do this job.

The last step in creating the best webinar welcome speech is to reiterate the topic for a quick refresh and to capture the attention of those joining in late.

Again, keep it short and try not to repeat yourself, even though you’ve discussed the topic. At this point, talk about the agenda. According to HubSpot, 30% of webinar participants want to attend a presentation that teaches them how to do a specific task — so make sure you’re letting them know what they can expect to learn.

“Our guests today will teach you how to live stream like a pro. So next time you run your live session, you’ll be a lot more confident.” Then mention the areas you’ll cover.

💡 Pro tip: Summarize in 3 main points

In your closing technique, when you talk about the areas you’ll cover, keep it to three points, so attendees don’t forget what the session will include.

Your webinar welcome speech template

If you’re looking to craft the perfect webinar welcome speech, save time with a template. But remember to write it out step-by-step, practice, and put your own spin on it before going live!

Webinar speech element: Welcome

“Hello and welcome. I’m your host and speaker/moderator, [name] . Thank you for taking the time to join us today as we talk about [topic] .

Webinar speech element: Benefits

You’ll leave with [share benefits of learning topic — best limited to three benefits] . We’ve also got a free [takeaway type] for you at the end of the session, so stay tuned to learn more about it.

Webinar speech element: Engagement tools explanation

And, to make sure we’re helping you as best as we can on [topic] , we have a chat box where you can submit your questions. We’ll also have [engagement tools, such as polls] to share with you.

Webinar speech element: Q&A

Feel free to drop questions on the topic or share your struggles and experiences. We’ll answer your questions by the end of each guest session (or, “The moderator will collect the most upvoted questions so we can answer them for you at the end of the presentation”).

Webinar speech element: Recording access 

Also, don’t worry about taking notes — we will send the session’s recording and training video via email with in [specify time] .

Webinar speech element: Intro guest speakers

So without further ado, let me introduce you to the pros who will talk about [reiterate topic] .

  • Our first speaker is [name] from [topical credentials] (then two to three lines about topical results the speaker has driven).
  • Our second speaker is … ( repeat the speaker intros as needed).

Webinar speech element: Agenda items

Today, t hese guests will teach you how to [topic] so [ benefit] . 

  • One thing we’ll dive into is [a genda item # 1]. (1 line)
  • Then, [agenda item # 2]. (1 line)
  • And finally, [agenda item # 3]. (1 line)

Webinar speech element: Wrap-up

Ready? Let’s get started! Here’s [first speaker].

Webinar script FAQs

And to wrap things up, let’s answer some final questions on successful webinar introductions:

Start your webinar welcome speech with a warm greeting and thank attendees for their time. Next, briefly introduce the topic and set expectations by sharing any takeaways or freebies attendees will receive (e.g., “expert secrets,” in-depth reports or case studies, or template downloads). Outline how they can participate and whether the recording will be available. Finally, introduce your guests before kicking off the event.

Create a rough outline of all that you want to cover in your webinar. Areas of focus include the webinar welcome speech, guest speaker topics, and the call to action (CTA) steps that you want attendees to take after watching the webinar.

End a webinar speech by sharing takeaways or freebies (if any) and pointing out the action step that participants need to take. If you’re going to send attendees a follow-up survey or poll, let recipients know that, with their permission, you’ll potentially use their feedback in webinar testimonials. It’s also a good idea to tell attendees you’re looking forward to their success on the topic you’ve covered in the webinar.

Go live with your next webinar

Originally published on November 1, 2021. Updated on May 5, 2023.

Get your audience talking

Host pro webinars more often, more easily

Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon is a freelance writer for SaaS and lover of to-do lists. When she's not writing, she usually has her head buried in a business book or fantasy novel. Connect with her on Twitter .

Masooma is a contributing writer. Vimeo commissions pieces from a variety of experts to provide a range of insights to our readers, and the views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author. All content and any external links are provided for informational purposes only.

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38 Top Opening and Closing Remarks for Meetings

By: Grace He | Updated: March 18, 2024

You found our list of opening and closing remarks for meetings .

Opening and closing remarks for meetings are statements that introduce and wrap up workplace get-togethers. The purpose of these remarks is to set the tone of the subject matter and summarize topics covered during the meeting. Examples of opening and closing remarks for meetings include quick welcomes to attendees, announcements explaining the reason for the meeting, and conclusions that wrap up the content covered.

Utilizing opening and closing remarks is among the top public speaking tips for employees . You can use conference jokes or conference quotes as your opening or closing remarks. These icebreaker jokes are a great addition to your conference agenda .


This list includes:

  • short opening remarks for a meeting
  • opening remarks for a virtual meeting
  • chairman opening remarks in a meeting
  • opening remarks for a seminar
  • sample closing remarks for a meeting
  • sample closing remarks for an event
  • simple closing remarks

Here we go!

Short opening remarks for a meeting

  • Welcome, everyone. Thank you for taking the time to attend our meeting this morning. This meeting will address some announcements we think you will find interesting. We have a lot to cover, so we will get started without further ado.
  • Good morning, folks. We appreciate you blocking out your calendar so we can discuss some important topics with you. We promise to get through this as quickly as possible so you can get back to your day.
  • Hey, everyone! Great to see so many shining faces in the room, especially for the early hour! Apologies for calling this meeting on such short notice. We have some significant announcements to make, so we will get right to it.
  • Hi, team. Thank you for making an effort to be here today. Some serious developments occurred over the weekend, and we wanted to inform you of the details before you heard any worrisome rumors. Here is everything we can tell you so far.
  • Hello, all! Glad you could make it on such short notice. We have some exciting news to share, and we just could not wait to spill the beans! Rather than wasting any time, we can get right to the good stuff.
  • Good afternoon. Thanks for making time to be here today. As you know, we hit some important milestones this week. We thought sharing the success and discussing what comes next would be helpful. Away we go!
  • Greetings, everybody! Here we are at another super exciting monthly meeting, our chance to share the highs and lows we all have been through since the last time we met. Would anyone like to get things started for us?
  • Well, hey there! It has been a long time since our last meeting. We have all been quite busy, as you know. We have a lot to catch up on, so how about we jump right in and get started?

Opening remarks for a virtual meeting

  • Good morning to everyone on our video call today. We have participants joining today from locations all over the world. Before we get started, we would like to take a moment to share our appreciation for everyone lining up their schedules across the time zones in this way. We understand how difficult it was to coordinate this meeting so all major stakeholders could attend. We promise to make it worth your while. If anyone on the call knows of a colleague who cannot attend, please feel free to share our discussion with them when you can. You should have a meeting deck in your email to help you follow along. Feel free to open it, and we will get started.
  • Cyberteam: Assemble! Cheers to our remote crew, tuning in from the various workspaces around town and throughout the country. It is truly incredible that technology allows us to get together, even if only in digital form. You may have heard about some developments across several departments. We will address those topics and field any questions or concerns you may have. We will also discuss future developments in as much detail as possible. Much of what we will cover is still in the works, so we do not have as much information for you as we would like. However, we promise to do our best to get you up to speed and keep you informed as we learn more.
  • Good afternoon, team. You may have seen the email announcing our new project calendar. This timeline includes tasks spanning multiple teams, so we have a coordinated effort. We wanted to get everyone on a call to brainstorm ways to approach our rollout of various tasks. Depending on the needs, you may find your name on multiple lists, or you may not appear on any lists. Our hope is to distribute the work as fairly as possible among the team to minimize potential overload. Because you are the players involved, we want you to have a say in how we assemble the list.
  • Hello, everyone. Thank you for firing up your cameras and getting online this morning. We have a few special announcements to go over as well as updates on items we left in limbo during our last meeting. We also have a special guest joining us today. This guest speaker has information about making the most of your remote work experience. I know we have discussed workplace wellness in the past, and I thought we should hear from an expert on the subject. They will hop on for the last 30 minutes, which gives us the first 30 minutes to cover everything else. I will dive right in so we can have time for Q&A before our guest appears.
  • Hey, crew! We have gotten away from our meeting schedule as of late, and for a good reason. Great job on catching up on the backlog! Now that we are ahead of the curve again, I would like us to pick back up on our semi-monthly schedule to stay informed in a more unified setting. I think it is also a good idea for us to see one another’s shining faces every so often so we can remember what we all look like! More sincerely, our remote team needs face-to-face interaction, which is what these meetings are all about. I will put new items on our calendars to keep us on track through the end of the year.

Chairman opening remarks in a meeting

  • I am pleased to be speaking to all of you today. As the leader of this board, it is my duty to bring us together when necessary. This task can be challenging, considering our other obligations. I would like us to take this opportunity to review developments that occurred since our last meeting and cover several lingering action items.
  • Good morning, fellow board members. It is a privilege to address you all this afternoon for such a fortunate occasion. It is not often that the board has the opportunity to honor the accomplishments of its own members. Today, we will celebrate the successes of a long-standing trustee who has reached the pinnacle of personal and professional achievement. Before we start, please join me in welcoming our esteemed member with a round of applause.
  • Thank you all for attending. As chairman, I would like to begin this meeting by reviewing the minutes from our last session before covering our new agenda. You all know how quickly the new corporate strategy is unfolding. We have a growing list of issues to address, so we should get started.
  • I would like to extend a warm welcome to all in attendance today. As your newly appointed chairman, I think it best to begin this meeting by introducing myself and explaining my background before having each member do the same. Once introductions are complete, we will review the charter and attend to any new business.

Opening remarks for a seminar

  • Welcome, everyone, and thank you for being with us today. For those who may not know, this seminar is our opportunity to share our latest developments and explain how this progress will lead us into our next phase. We have laid out a roadmap that puts us on solid footing the whole way through. We are eager to share the details and get your input on what improvements we can make. As key stakeholders in the business, your viewpoints count as much as anyone on the team. We hope you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts.
  • There are few moments in which our group can assemble for a subject as important as improving our culture. We feel the need is critical enough to halt operations and bring us all together. This company remains dedicated to the well-being of every employee, but dedication means nothing without action. We have created a seminar-style meeting that presents information intended to help make the most of your experience in the workplace. This is your space, after all, and we will do all we can to create an enriching culture for all of us.
  • I can think of few workplace developments less stressful than learning new software. Unfortunately, we have outgrown our old platform and have no choice but to move to a bigger and better model. After a great deal of deliberation, we have chosen a package that will make your current work much easier while also accommodating future growth. To get a head start on learning, we have put together this seminar with a representative from the software company. This speaker will provide an overview of the system and its functions before going into detail about how each feature fits in with our current system. Please feel free to ask questions and share your insight as we proceed.

Sample closing remarks for a meeting

  • We have covered a lot of material in a short time. If you need more details, you can schedule one-on-one time with your supervisors, who will have additional information shortly. Please write down any questions that arise so you can get answers and feel settled about our next steps.
  • I hope you enjoyed our brainstorming session. We are off to a great start and should have a great second meeting. I will add an item to the calendar to continue with our planning phase. If everyone will kindly send me their notes, then I will create a master folder we can all access. I will also email today’s meeting minutes out so we can create a living document as we go. More to come!
  • As you can understand, this meeting is only a first step. We will continue business as usual until we receive further word about new developments. Once we know more about the acquisition, we will put together another meeting for updates. You may have questions and concerns before then, which you may discuss with your manager, of course. To avoid creating unnecessary anxiety, we would ask that you refrain from speculating on details we have yet to disclose. I appreciate your cooperation.
  • I hope you can all agree that it is important for our team to spend quality time together outside of our usual tasks. These team building meetings are a perfect forum for showing off other sides of our personalities and connecting in fun and exciting ways. This meeting is the first of many! To ensure everyone feels a sense of ownership, I would like you all to send me your ideas for events we can include in future meetings. If you know of any games or icebreaker activities we should include, please send me a note or drop by my office to chat. The more input we have, the better variety of activities we can draw from.

Sample closing remarks for an event

  • We hope you enjoyed attending our event as much as we enjoyed putting it together. As always, we are ready to assist our clients in any way possible. If you have concerns after you head out, please get in touch with your account manager or a supervisor and let us know how we can help. We truly appreciate serving you and cannot wait to see where we go together next. Thank you for coming!
  • Thank you for coming to our get-together. We know breaking away from your busy day can be challenging, and we do not take it for granted. That said, it is always great to see our team come together for time away from the daily grind! We would not be able to do what we do without you. You are all integral to this organization’s success, and we are grateful to have you.
  • We have come a long way since the last time we were all together. The organization has grown considerably, and we know more growth will come. We hope we have clarified what comes next for this company and how we intend to achieve our goals. The agenda may seem ambitious, but we have no doubt that the people in this room are the right people to make the effort successful. Thank you, as always, for your continued support and dedication to our cause. We hope to see you again next time.
  • Before we all head out, I would like to thank everyone who showed up tonight. You really came through and made this event a smashing success! I would also like to give a shout-out to our event team, who put together everything from decorations to catering without falling behind on their daily tasks. This team is phenomenal, and the credit for such a winning event goes to them. Please join me in showing our appreciation for all they have done.

Simple closing remarks

  • Thank you all for coming. Enjoy the rest of your day!
  • This meeting went quicker than expected, so I will give you 30 minutes back.
  • Apologies for this meeting taking longer than scheduled. I appreciate you taking the extra time needed to finish up.
  • If you have any questions after the meeting, please feel free to come to my office.
  • Anyone needing more information can reach out to the contacts listed on the calendar item for this meeting.
  • We have much more to discuss, so I will schedule a follow-up meeting for a week from now.
  • As you can see, we have some serious challenges ahead of us. But I know that our usual team spirit will help us rise to the occasion.
  • This topic is highly sensitive, so we ask that you treat it with the proper discretion.
  • As a thank-you for your time and attention, there are treats in the breakroom. Feel free to drop by and grab a few!
  • You all put the “dream” in “dream team.” Thank you for your incredible effort and amazing output during such a demanding time!

Preparing opening and closing remarks will provide definitive starting and ending points for your meetings. You can set the tone while alerting attendees to the main topic as well as sharing a list of agenda items. These remarks also create an opportunity to open your meeting with a warm welcome and close on a note of gratitude and encouragement.

Next, read about virtual workshop ideas and virtual brainstorming ideas , and team meeting tips .

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FAQ: Opening and closing remarks for meetings

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about opening and closing remarks for meetings.

What are opening and closing remarks for meetings?

Opening and closing remarks for meetings are introductions and conclusions that bring a sense of organization to your agenda. You can use opening remarks to announce the topic of your meeting, while closing remarks will provide a wrap-up and alert attendees to any follow-up meetings or actions needed.

Why are good opening and closing remarks important?

Good opening remarks are important because they set the tone for the meeting, set goalposts, and keep listeners engaged. Similarly, good closing statements summarize essential topics, establish goals for future sessions, and provide calls to action.

What are some good opening statements for meetings?

Some options for good opening remarks include quick reasons for the meeting and brief rundowns of topics you will cover. Choosing an opener that matches the tone of the topics you want to address is essential.

How do you create good closing remarks for meetings?

Preparing good closing remarks can be as simple as reiterating information already covered and assigning the next steps. Additionally, these remarks should leave meeting attendees with a sense of understanding and accomplishment. Examples of some good closing remarks include thank yous to workers for attending, confirmations of the following steps, and reminders of follow-up items.

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Author: Grace He

People & Culture Director at Grace is the Director of People & Culture at She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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opening speech examples for seminar

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Grace is the Director of People & Culture at She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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Opening Speech

Opening speech generator.

opening speech examples for seminar

Whether you are opening for a small gathering such as minor events or a big one like global conferences, public speaking always gives people stage fright. If you are nervous, you have all the reasons to feel that way. You must already know it since you are here, but one helpful tip to combat nervousness is preparation. That said, turn on your gears and practice your speech writing skills as you compose your opening speech. 

10+ Opening Speech Examples

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General Opening Speech

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Global Citizenship Opening Speech

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Global Conference Opening Speech

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Opening Speech Template

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8. Opening Speech on Cultural Management

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9. Opening Speech by the Honorable Minister

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11. Chairman’s Opening Speech

Chairman’s Opening Speech

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What Is an Opening Speech?

An opening speech is a talk that people give to welcome guests and give a brief overview of what will happen in an event. People give this type of speech during formal and informal gatherings. Just as the name states, the purpose of an opening speech is to open programs. 

How to Compose an Impressive Opening Speech

Giving an opening statement means giving the people something to measure for their first impression. When you get on that stage and give your speech, you are doing the first performance of the event itinerary . It is your responsibility to set the vibe for the entirety of the gathering. That said, you should ensure to give a grand opening speech. 

1. Start With a Compelling Introduction

The first words that come out of your mouth when you hold the microphone are a defining factor in the quality of your speech. In writing this segment, ensure to incorporate a hook. It should be effective enough to captivate and retain the attention of your audience throughout your whole speech. One method that will help you to devise your introduction is by conducting an audience analysis . Doing this will give you an idea of how to catch the attention of your listeners. 

2. Acknowledge The Guests

Of course, one of the purposes of giving an opening speech at every event is to welcome the guests. Convey how thankful the organizers are for their acceptance of the event invitation . Also, do not forget to thank them for sparing time for the program. If there are important people on your attendance list , you should show them your appreciation by giving them a special mention. 

3. State the Purpose of the Event

The next step is to write the part where you explain the reason for holding the event. To make things interesting, you can give a very brief history or a fascinating fact about the program. Ensure to compose this segment properly. This part is what will give the audience an idea of what to expect for the ceremony.

4. Conclude Your Speech

In giving a welcome speech for guests , you should not consume too much of the people’s time. That said, after the previous steps, you should now start coming up with a conclusion. In concluding your speech, you should once again thank the guests. After that, you should introduce the next speaker or performer. 

What makes a good opening speech?

Good speech openings are those that can rouse the emotions of the audience. Despite that, you should tailor your introduction based on the formality of the gathering you are attending. For example, giving an opening speech for an event should be something that would brighten the atmosphere. On the other hand, when giving a welcome speech for conference , you should try a more formal approach and include essential meeting details.

How do you give a self-introduction speech?

Aside from mentioning your name, there are other things you should include in your self-introduction speech . Before deciding what details to add to what you will say, you should first consider your audience and the formality of the setting. Despite that, one universal tip that is appropriate for multiple circumstances is to give a brief background of yourself and your accomplishments.

What are essential things to remember when giving a speech?

In giving a speech, it is always advisable to compose a speech outline and practice what you will say. Another necessary thing that you should consider is how you will establish a connection with your listeners. One way to do this is by maintaining eye contact with your audience. Also, during your speech, you should use appropriate hand gestures.

Giving opening speeches are a heavy responsibility. Knowing that you would be the first person to go up the podium can make a person’s heartbeat twice as fast as it usually would. That said, you should prepare ahead and secure to write a killer opening speech. That way, you can walk towards the mic with confident steps.


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Opening speech sample, How to start presentation in scientific events?

Opening speech sample, How to start presentation in scientific events?

When you stand in front of a crowd of attendees and you want to start your speech; sometimes you wonder how to start the presentation. This problem is more challenging at a scientific event . You must welcome the audience and be focused on the content? How should you start talking? What should you tell people? In this post, we have listed tips and opening speech samples. Those are useful for conferences and seminars and webinars .

Opening speech sample: Useful guide

1) mention the event organizer.

All the experts in opening Speech examples recommend that start the presentation with an appreciation to the event organizer. You can tell that you are thankful that the event planner has invited you to speak at the scientific event.

Benefits of this tip

The event organizer will be so happy and delighted to invite you to the next events . The other reason to thank the planner is that the audience connects and trust you better.

2) Make a positive statement

Start your speech by telling the audience how much they will enjoy this presentation. Speaking is an art. be creative about what they would love to hear.

3) Provide some compliments

One of the best opening speech samples is complimenting the audience, Remember to be polite and members sincerely mention the challenges in the situation you`ll want to talk about.

4) Talk about a famous person

Use You can start by quoting a well-known person or publication that recently made an important statement.

5) Refer To A Historical Event

Especially the lives and campaigns of the great generals and the decisive battles they won. One of the best opening speech sample in historical examples is Alexander the Great.

6) Refer To A Well Known Person

You can start by quoting a well-known person or publication that recently made an important statement.

7) Refer To A Recent Conversation

Start by telling a story about a recent conversation with someone in attendance.

8) Make A Shocking Statement

You can start your talk by making a shocking statement of some kind.

9) Quote From Recent Research

You can start by quoting a recent research report.

10) Start Your Speech By Giving Them Hope

The French philosopher Gustav Le Bon once wrote, “The only religion of mankind is, and always has been hoping.” When you speak effectively, you give people hope of some kind.

Remember, the ultimate purpose of speaking is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments.

Do you want to have a speech at the upcoming education conferences ? There are various conferences in the field with interesting themes and topics to join.

You can attend top-ranked business conferences where very interesting opening speeches are being delivered by experts in business, management, and leadership.

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opening speech examples for seminar

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Master of Ceremony Opening Speech

3 step guide to writing a great master of ceremony opening speech.

How to write a great Opening Speech

Over the last 20 years I’ve had to write an Opening Speech for hundreds of large events where I have been engaged as the MC.

Some have been relatively easy, while others have required many hours of effort and thought.

Rather than reinvent the wheel each time, I now have a 3 Part Formula or Process I always follow. This both saves me time but also ensures that all the elements of a great opening speech are there.

Ingredients of a good Opening Speech

I like to cook when I’m at home and in many ways putting together a great Master of Ceremony opening speech is like cooking a great meal.

Firstly you have to understand what you are trying to make, then the ingredients you are going to use and finally, how you are going to combine them!

We are going to dive in deep into each of those areas but I hope you can see how the metaphor works.

Understanding the outcome you are aiming for, the why, is important because your role as an MC is to help your client achieve their aims for the event. If you are not aware of those aims you could in fact hinder the process with ill considered comments or wrong emphasis. To go back to the planning of your meal, are you making sandwiches and finger food or designing a 5 course sit down banquet?

Secondly, while the ingredients of each opening may sometimes be very similar, often, like a good cook, you can substitute different things. You might change the spice to create a slightly different flavour or double the amount of another ingredient to add more kick or emphasis.

And lastly you can combine those ingredients in different ways. Some elements work better going in early, sometimes just a pinch near the end is all that’s required.

So for a Opening Speech, the 3 Steps are …

  • Why is this Happening and What are you trying to Achieve?
  • What needs to be Included
  • How to put that Together

Preparing a great Master of Ceremony Opening Speech.

It’s unlikely that you are the organiser of the event itself, though this formula is just as useful if you are and are writing your own opening speech.

In most cases as an MC  you will have an organiser, who is then your client. This is the person who has asked you to be the MC. It could be a business owner, CEO, your headmaster, the President of the Association etc. They have specific reasons why this event is taking place and it is your job to ascertain what they are.

In every situation you want to have a briefing session with this person either face to face or over the phone. This Briefing of course will cover your involvement in the whole event, but in this article we will just focus on the Opening.

Pro Tip –  Check out the full list of Briefing Questions on page 102 of the Expert MC Toolkit & Resource Manual .

Part One   –   Reason for the Event

Knowing “why” the event is taking place will get you firmly on the right track to writing a great opening speech!

Is it a Celebration, an Information Night, a Product Launch, Team Building or an Awards Night?

And don’t take a simple answer like “oh, we have it every year” as an answer. Drill in a little deeper. The next question will open it up a bit more.

What are they trying to Achieve?

Building on the “why” question, I usually then ask … “how do you want the audience to Think or Act after the event?” This can be immediately after or when they get back to work etc.

Are they trying to motivate the audience to do something or get them to meet lots of new people. Are they making them more confident about their jobs or are they wanting them to sign up to buy something? Are they gearing up the audience for some hard times ahead?

Theme of the Event!

Is there an actual Theme or Slogan for the Event? We have written about this before but this will give you big clues about what to say and possibly what to wear for the event.

Part 2 –   Details of the Opening Speech

Once you have some of this Big Picture stuff sorted, it’s time to get onto the nitty gritty. Now, sometimes these finer details won’t be known at the time of the briefing, but at least they have been flagged as something you need to know.

Time Available

You obviously need to have a firm idea about the length of time that you are aiming for in an Master of Ceremonies opening speech.

Pro Tip – It’s always good to try and get a longer time allocation than you need or that you will write for. This allows some immediate flex time. If the event starts a little late, and it inevitably will, those extra couple of minutes you asked for may put you back on track.

Are there any official protocols that must be included?

In some countries and with some cultural groups, a Prayer is included at the start of formal proceedings. The National Anthem might also be sung.

Here in Australia many groups have an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of the event, a short few lines recognising the Traditional Owners of the Land.

I use this term to incorporate other things that also must be mentioned in your opening. The more formal an event the more specific you will be.

VIP Guests, Dignitaries etc will probably be mentioned by name in a specific order.

Depending on the type of event, Sponsors my also get a mention here.

Once you know what your client wants or expects, you can then start crafting the opening.

House Keeping

“Housekeeping” is a widely used term that covers all the small bits and pieces of information that may also need to be conveyed to an audience.

Examples are – Where are the Toilets, what is the Wifi Code, what time does the bus leave, etc. I also include in this group – “Please turn your Phones to Silent.”

Now, depending on the type of event it is, you may not need to go through all the House Keeping in your opening speech. I prefer to do it a bit later as I find it dilutes the impact of the opening a bit. In that situation, just mention the Phones before you introduce the first speaker and come back to the Housekeeping after them.

What happens next?

As an MC you should always keep in mind what happens next. So when you are putting together your opening speech you need to be aware of what happens immediately after you finish so you can make the appropriate link. But more importantly, know the appropriate “energy levels.”

For example you might be launching into a facilitated Teambuilding or Networking session, in which case you will be building the energy and fun. Alternatively, you might be introducing someone speaking on a sombre or serious topic that needs focus and respect.

Part 3 – Putting the Opening Speech Together

Master of Ceremony, Emcee, MC Script

Now we have the vital information – what we are trying to achieve and what must be included. It’s time for the third part of the formula, putting it all together.

A structure I have found incredibly useful is this …

Closer  /   Link …

This works just as well if you have only 3 minutes or if you have 15. Let’s look at it in more detail.

The Grabber

Getting peoples attention and interest right from the start is vital.

You need to confident and assured in your dress and demeanour and your words need to match.

It’s not a time for chit chat or repartee. Bang, get straight into it!

I’ve attended a couple of sessions with the Patricia Fripp, the British born, now American based speaker coach. (And sister of legendary guitarist Robert Fripp.)

Her advice for speakers is to start with something bold, a phrase or sentence that grabs attention and interest. I think the advice works just as well for MC’s as it does for speakers.

For several events business events I’ve started with …

“Princeton University, 1955.  Professor Albert Einstein is handing out exam papers to his final year students …”

Did that get your attention? Did you want to know what happens next? Of course you do!

That works so much better than “Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, my names Timothy Hyde and I will be your MC for the event..”

After the quick story, (that relates totally to the WHY they are having the meeting,) you can then move into the welcome and greeting.

Remember also the Voice of God introduction. This will also grab peoples attention and let them know your name! It also enables you to move into something more meaty at the start.

Pro Tip – The full “Einstein Opener” mentioned above is found on page 33 of your copy of The Expert MC Toolkit & Resource Manual .  The theme of Rapid Change, Innovation, Creative Solutions is perfect for many business type functions.)

Other great Opening Grabbers include

  • “What if ………?”
  • A statistic or fact.
  • “Imagine that ……?”
  • A bold statement.
  • A Question.

Once you have got the attention of the audience,  you can do an official type welcome and include any Protocol type things you need to cover. VIP’s, Sponsors etc

You now move onto the Big Picture.

This will emphasis the Theme of the Event and Why are you all here.

This sets the context for everything to follow. You may mention a couple of highlights of the program coming up, the Who and the What.

I then like to move from Big Picture to the Personal.

So what I’m saying relates directly to each and every attendee.

Now, what is included here depends once again on what the client wants for the outcome of the event.

Are you motivating and enthusing them?

Are you planting seeds that they will get lots of information?

Do you need to reinforce the benefits of being here?

Are they here to – Network, Set Goals or Relax?

Pro Tip – Plant a seed of Co-operation!

In my Opening speech I always like to plant a seed of co-operation. This is a message that we need to work together to keep the event running on time. That running on time will enable all the Speakers to do their full presentations and if they do, YOU will gain maximum benefit from being here. You are busy people, it’s a packed agenda, we want you to gain a lot from being here and we want to finish on time etc.

I also reinforce this at certain times during the event by thanking them for their help.

Closer /  Link to next activity

Depending on what’s happening next, this is a good moment to either slip in any urgent Housekeeping or close up your opening and introduce the first activity or speaker.

I often would use an appropriate quote or a mention of the Theme again, taking it back to Big Picture.

This 3 Part Process will give you a good basis to start writing stronger Openings.

Part 1 gives you the WHY, the reason for the event and the outcomes you are aiming for.

Part 2 adds the details that must be incorporated.

Part 3 gives you a structure for the opening.

Timothy Hyde

Widely acknowledged as one of Australia's busiest & best MC's and a global authority on the MC Industry, Timothy Hyde shares his expertise and insights into this fascinating Professional Speaking niche via this site and a dynamic YouTube channel. His best selling book The ExpertMC Toolkit and Resource Manual has helped thousands of people worldwide improve their Emcee skills and in many cases, start earning a living by taking on the role.

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How to write a MUN Opening Speech

With Examples

Writing an opening speech in MUN can be a bit challenging.

Common questions we get from delegates before going to a conference. “What should I say in my opening speech?” “Should I read out my Positions Paper?” “How do I take all the research I did  and fit it into a short opening speech?”

Before you start working on your MUN opening speech, you should know the topic, done some research, and preferably already have written a position paper . 

A MUN opening speech should cover the following:

  • Problem The specific problem you want to solve – 1 line.
  • Clash Solution – What you want to do about the issue – 1 line.
  • Information Back up your views on the issue and solutions with facts from research . – 2 lines
  • Action Solution Details – The step by step how to solve the issue. – 3 + lines

What not to do:

Do not repeat the problem . Everyone knows what it is. Repeating the problem is a great way to waste precious speech time. Your first sentence should be what you want to do. That is what the other delegates are more interested in.

Your first sentence should be a clear clash. To impact the committee it is not enough to bring vague ideas. There needs to be engagement between delegates and your ideas need to be discussed by others.

You know your idea is important when countries that oppose your idea fight against it while countries who are on your side support it. Other delegates’ ideas clashing with yours is what gives them both life and makes them interesting and relevant.

For this reason, a good MUN opening speech needs to have:


Clash is your solution in one specific sentence. The Clash is framed as a two-sided solution which the other side can object to. Information is properly used facts. Call to Action is the policy you want to see implemented. The guide below will explain how the CIA formula works and how to use it to create your influential, informative, and rhetorically sound opening speech. Let’s get to it!

  • Intro to CIA
  • Opening Speech Structure
  • Topic Types
  • Opening Speech Examples

Introducing CIA

CIA is the foundation for any MUN opening speech. A strong CIA speech, will convey a clear and consistent message to your fellow delegates that you know what you are talking about and have a plan. Clear communication is the key to  successful MUNing in your committee. Missing your C lash, I nformation or A ction can result in confusion about where you stand on the matter and your outlook on how to solve the issue at hand. 

Just Remember CIA:

I nformation

C la sh – What you want to do in one specific sentence. .

I nformation – Relevant facts. numbers, that support your speech. Information can also be facts about your country that justify your position.

Call to A ction – How you will carry out the one line “what” you states in the Clash.

Before we explain how each part of CIA works, it is vital to understand clashing with at least a few other delegates is an important litmus test for how relevant your talking points are.

Why 100% Agreement = Irrelevance

A Model United Nations opening speech should present a problem, as you perceive said problem, and give one or more practical policy proposals on how you propose to solve it. However, if everyone agrees with you, no one will talk about your ideas.

When no one talks about your ideas, they will fade from the discussion. This is why your framing of the problem needs to clash with the world view of other delegates. The debate between you and those who oppose your ideas will keep both ideas alive. Hours later, if you find a compromise with the other side, you will get credit for making the biggest difference. If you cannot find a compromise, you get credit for sticking to your principles. In both cases, if your clash is central to what takes place in the committee, you will get the credit for shaping the discussion and bringing the ideas that led the direction the committee took.

This is why it is not enough to say what is correct, or even important. It needs to arouse some kind of response to remain relevant and important. Ideally, the way you frame the debate will be so relevant and well presented that the committee clashes along the lines you set and the rich and relevant discussion takes up a central place in the committee, or at least is relevant to enough delegates to keep it going as a secondary discussion. For this reason, the first part of your MUN opening speech is called a Clash.

What you want to do.

Clash definition: A confrontation of solutions.

We cannot censor people who incite violence in a country with freedom of speech. Vs We must censor people to ensure physical safety from those who successfully incite violence.

You cannot censor and not censor at the same time and there you have a strong clash.

For something to be a clash, delegates from your committee need to be on either side of it. If there are no two sides, the committee won’t debate it. Instead, your ideas will either unanimously go straight to the unimportant clause section of the resolution or fall entirely out of discussion. Either way, it will not be central to determining the direction the committee goes.

Examples of Clash:

Revoking asylum status for anyone who does not agree to get vaccinated at the border.

Advocating for megacities to have their own independent legal system.

The United Nations should fund water filtration in countries that suffer volcanic eruptions.

In all of these examples, there is a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. The answer to these questions will be the main one to divide the committee room.  

An idea that everyone agrees on is Off Clash . Off Clash statements (Like the Ebola virus is bad or tornados are dangerous) are a waste of precious speech time that could be further used to develop your Clash or Call to Action. (More on Clash and Off Clash in the expanded explanation below)

Which clash should you choose?

  Some topics have many possible clashes. In those cases, you should choose the one you feel will be most relevant to the discussion.

Committee : World Health Organization

Topic: Combating the Zika Virus

Clash 1: Increase the number of doctors sent to Peru to treat Zika.

Clash 2: Remove patent restrictions to let countries locally develop medicines to counter Zika.

Clash 3: Suggest countries around the world teach children about the world’s top deadliest diseases.

 The general concept of combating Zika is an Off Clash topic. No one will say the Zika virus is a good thing. To find the Clash you need to go one level deeper and decide what type of discussion will best serve our country’s interests.

It is clear that Clash 3 will save the least leaves and bring the least immediate benefit. It will also likely get little or no discussion time.

When choosing between Clash 1 and Clash 2, Paraguay would open for Clash 2, as creating generic medicines would be cheaper not only for fighting Zika but could also make medical treatment cheaper across the board. This idea would also be of interest to Angola, who faces similar constraints on creating generic medicines, even though they do not have the Zika virus. As a rule of thumb, it is better to choose a clash that is not only relevant to your country but many others can also agree with it.

Information = Hard facts that support your case

A strong MUN speech needs to have relevant facts and numbers that support parts of your speech.

Without information, your fellow delegates can only rely on your word, which might not give enough credibility to what you have to say. Numbers, names, dates and hard facts show what we are saying exists in the real world and is not an opinion. Numbers are the best form of information to use and the hardest to argue with.

No “Information”

The coral reefs are very important. Huge numbers of people who live near a reef. Corals also protect the shoreline of many countries. Also, many countries, like the US, and make a lot of money from tourism.

With “Information”

The coral reefs are very important. 962 million people (Roughly an eighth of the world’s population) lives within 60 miles of a reef. Additionally, corals protect 100,000 miles of shoreline in over 100 countries from being batters by the ocean’s force. The coral reefs also generating billions of dollars in tourism revenue. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the annual commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs to be over $100 million.

Which sounds smarter?

Information does not exist in a vacuum. There is no such thing as facts for facts sake. 

Information in a CIA speech should always do one of the following:

  • Supports why your Clash is the most relevant
  • Shows why your Call to Action is the most important
  • Shows why your country has the position it does
  • Disproves information brought by another delegate

Information in follow up speeches usually moves between these four. In earlier speeches the “I” focuses more on your own world-building and less on countering other countries. However, MUN simulation has a lot going on and the Information should be used, as deemed appropriate, on a case by case basis.

Call to Action (CtA) is a statement designed to give instructions for an immediate response.

In MUN, your CtA is the practical policy to solve the issue you set up in your clash.

Without a clear CtA other delegates will not know what to do with the Clash and Information you presented. Worse, they can use what you set up in your speech to justify other CtA’s.

A Call to Action needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound (SMART). 

Your CtA needs to be specific as to:

  • Where you will get funding from
  • Which organizations will be involved
  • What you will send

Clash: Let’s send teachers to the refugee camps in Ethiopia.

CtA : Hiring 300 teachers who specialize in teaching English and Math, to United Nations run high schools at the 3 refugee camps in the Tigray region in Ethiopia.

We can’t send “teachers” as we don’t know what types how many, where to send them or what they are going to do. However, when we look at the CtA, we can guestimate the cost of 300 teachers who specialize in English and Math and now know where to send them.

A good Call to Action explains the problem, the solution and what it’s going to do.

Specific actionable policy ideas will allow you to direct the discussion, and later take credit for the ideas when everyone else has the same general stance (ex. “humanitarian aid”).

Structure of an opening speech

The opening speeches at most MUN conferences are 60 seconds. 

However, you should ask your conference team if you are unsure about the opening speech times since this could differ. Take into considerations, a delegate could motion to change the opening speeckers time during the course of the conference or a chair could change the time due to other unforeseen reasons …. So  even if the opening speech is as short as 30 seconds, or as long as two minutes, the structure remains the same.

  • Information – Sprinkled throughout

Call to Action

Clash breaks into two parts, clashline and explanation.

How to start an MUN opening speech

A good MUN opening speech goes straight to the point. The longer you take the more of a risk you run that they’ll find someone else to focus on like passing a note, writing an opening speech of their own, chatting to the delegate next to them, etc. Your strong opener is your Clashline.

Clashline – Your first few lines. It tells the listener what clash you want to focus on. Shouldn’t be more than 10 seconds.

Examples of Clashlines:

Syrian refugees who spent over three years in refugee camps should get work visas Countries should be responsible for their own epidemics The UN should send food aid to the people of North Korea

Clash explanation – Your next few seconds should explain why what you are speaking about is important by showing why your clash is the correct one.

Examples of Explanation: Clashline: “The UN should send unconditional food aid to the people of North Korea.” Explanation: “The leadership is stable and not looking to change any time soon. Life will continue the same for the elites as the people are starving. This is why the food should be sent now.”

This is a good example of getting straight to the point. Within four sentences we have a clear idea that human rights come second to the leadership of the DPRK. This clarity of Clashline and Explanation can be used in any MUN committee from the General Assembly, ECOSOC, DISEC, SOCHUM and WHO to the Security Council and even a crisis committee.

Information Facts in your speech always have a purpose. That purpose is almost always one of the following: – Show why your Clash is the most relevant – Show why your Call to Action will make the biggest difference – Explain why your country has the position it does – Disprove information brought by another delegate

Use of information to strengthen a speech

Clash: The UN should send unconditional food aid to the people of North Korea. Kim Jong Un is 35 years old. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon. At the same time, 10.5 million people, which is 41% of the total population, are undernourished. Life will continue the same for the elites as the people are starving.

You should describe your policy / solution halfway through your speech at the latest. This is because you need time to elaborate on your solution. No idea is clear in one sentence. You will need time to explain why it is important and why it is going to work.

Use of Call to Action

The United Nations should send 240 million tons of food aid to the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. This food should be sent over two years. 30 million should be sent every three months as long as Kim Jong Un abides by the following.

  • Regular scheduled UN inspections every six months.
  • Surprise inspections are accommodated.

This text can be turned into clauses for a draft resolution. The main idea is clear.

Closing your Opening Speech

After your Call to Action, a summary sentence can be a nice way to close your speech.

However, this should not come at the expense of your content or important details of your Call to Action. Style should never trump substance.

What if you have extra time in my opening speech?

If you find yourself with extra time in your opening speech, and you used the CIA format in your speech.

Do the following:

  • Elaborate on additional points you didn’t get enough time to introduce.
  • Set up ideas that you can follow up in your next speech.
  • Reinforce your main points.
  • End your speech early if you really have nothing to add.

It should be rare to have extra time in your opening speech if you planned wisely, when you happen to find yourself with extra time use it strategically.

Types of MUN Topics

How it impacts your opening speech.

There are three types of MUN topics, Open, Semi-Open and Closed.

Types of MUN Topics:

Open Open topics are very broad and should be significantly narrowed to create the clash in an opening speech.

Example – Combatting the Slave Trade

This topic is very broad and could be about anything that has to do with slavery in the world today.  What does slave trade mean? It could be child slavery, forced labor or the sex trade. It could be placed in the developed world or developing world. It could be about countries of origin, transit countries or destinations. To be debatable the opening speech needs to move from the topic to something specific to set the Clash.

Semi-Open Semi-Open topics are similar to open topics and should be narrowed and focused. They have more direction than open topics but you are still required to choose from a few directions to set the clash.

Example – The right to the internet of children in developing countries

There is an understanding of what types of countries and populations that we’re focusing on but there is still work needed to set a Clash. What ages are the children? Who is providing the internet, government, the UN or an NGO? What about the devices to use the internet?

Closed topics have a clear main clash. Most, or all, of the countries in the committee will fall onto one side or the other. For closed topics, countries without a clear point of view still need to pick a side before they can begin discussing the issue.

Example – Sending aid to the people of North Korea.

While you still need to decide what types of aid, how much and what conditions, the question of “should we send aid” is a yes or no question that each country should have an opinion on and which strongly influences their starting point in the discussion.

You can learn more about the three types of MUN topics here.

Below are MUN opening speech samples for an open and closed topic.

MUN Opening Speech Examples

The following MUN speech examples show both good and bad opening speeches. After the speech, there will be a breakdown according to CIA and an analysis of the speech evaluating what worked, what didn’t and why.

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MUN Opening Speech Example – Open Topic

Committee: World Food Program

Topic: Eradicating Global Hunger

Country: Norway

Honorable chair distinguished delegates,

The first step to stopping starvation is improving access to clean water, critical for food growth. Half of the 800 million people without access to clean water live in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Kingdom of Norway believes that the WFP’s efforts should focus on community-oriented aid to promote self-sufficient living. Norway thinks self-operated water harvesting devices are a good way to do this. The University of Akron in Ohio developed a water harvester that produces 10 gallons of drinking water per hour from thin air. The UN should purchase, and distribute, water harvesters to the countries most in need such as Niger, Burundi and Mozambique. For the UN to ensure long term success, the WFP should transfer harvesters and not funds to the countries in need.

The Breakdown

The first step to stopping starvation is improving access to clean water , critical for food growth. Half of the 800 million people without access to clean water live in Sub-Saharan Africa . The Kingdom of Norway believes that the WFP’s efforts should focus on community-oriented aid to promote self-sufficient living. Norway thinks self-operated water harvesting devices are a good way to do this. The University of Akron in Ohio developed a water harvester that produces 10 gallons of drinking water per hour from thin air . The UN should purchase, and distribute, water harvesters to the countries most in need such as  Niger, Burundi and Mozambique . For the UN to ensure long term success, the WFP should transfer harvesters and not funds to the countries in need.

Clash – Improving access to clean water is how we tackle global hunger.

When asked in a question, “Does stopping starvation means providing access to clean water as the first priority?” Some countries will agree and some will not.

Information – 400 million people don’t have access to water in sub-Saharan Africa. (Numbers) Water harvester in the University of Akron produced 10 gallons of water per hour. (Numbers and names) Niger, Burundi and Mozambique are countries that could use this. (Names)

Call to Action – The UN should replace cash with water harvesters and give them directly to the people in need.

This Call to Action has two parts. In a follow-up speech, Norway can say that they give $975 million in aid to sub-Saharan countries. This can support why they want to make sure their investment is spent correctly. Also, even if the committee doesn’t go for water harvesters, or even water, the idea of not sending cash to the countries in need can still be central to the discussion.

Speech Analysis

Norway is hedging her bets and, while going in strong, leaves room to maneuver. The subtext of her case is countries should use whatever they are given responsibly and handing cash to governments is not an effective means. As long as whatever policy is chosen is done more responsibly (by what Norway considers responsible) she can still have a strong impact on the committee even if none of her policies go through.

MUN Opening Speech Example – Closed topic

Committee: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Topic: Changing visa policy to combat illegal migration

Country: United Kingdom

Honorable chair distinguished delegates, 

The United Kingdom is strongly against making visa access easier. While the death of the 39 Chinese found inside a refrigerated lorry from Bulgaria on October 23rd, 2019 is regrettable, our only option is informing potential migrants of the danger to themselves.

Illegal migration into Britain is around 650,000—give or take a couple hundred thousand. Many of these enter countries on tourist visas and then stay. Changing the laws will only give smugglers more opportunities.

Britain proposes the UN create translated online platforms to apply for legal visas, while also showing the dangers of illegal migration. The UN should invest in the proliferation, so this information reaches the right people. The smugglers who get past our x-ray machines, canine units, heartbeat monitors and carbon-dioxide sniffers are extremely resourceful. If we loosen visa laws, they will adapt and continue to take money from the poor but now with the white hats, we handed to them.

Honorable chair distinguished delegates,  The United Kingdom is strongly against making visa access easier . While the death of the 39 Chinese found inside a refrigerated lorry from Bulgaria on October 23rd, 2019 is regrettable, our only option is informing potential migrants of the danger to themselves . Illegal migration into Britain is around 650,000 —give or take a couple hundred thousand. Many of these enter countries on tourist visas and then stay . Changing the laws will only give smugglers more opportunities.

Britain proposes the UN create translated online platforms to apply for legal visas, while also showing the dangers of illegal migration . The UN should invest in the proliferation , so this information reaches the right people. The smugglers who get past our x-ray machines, canine units, heartbeat monitors and carbon-dioxide sniffers are extremely resourceful. If we loosen visa laws, they will adapt and continue to taking money from the poor but now with the white hats, we handed to them.

Clash – Do not change the visa laws. Like at all.

Information – 39 victims inside a lorry from Bulgaria (numbers and names), Illegal migration into Britain + – 650,000 (number), x-ray machines, canine units, heartbeat monitors and carbon-dioxide sniffers (specific names of detection methods.)

Call to Action – UN online platform in local languages explaining the visa process and warning of dangers. UN should create a mechanism to make sure the platform reaches relevant people. (How to reach people needs elaboration in later speeches) 

This speech starts with the UK clearly stating that they are against changing visa status, which shows which side of the main clash he is on. He brings information which he knows those who want to change visa status to save lives will bring up and says, despite that, he is against.

The UK brings many new stakeholders into the discussion such as the resourceful smugglers and how most illegal migrants come with tourist visas and stay.

As draft resolutions are practical policies, it isn’t enough to be against changing visas. The UK also needs to propose something proactive. The online resource is a good policy proposal in that it gives the IOM sometimes to advocate for which does not require a change in visa law. All countries that don’t want to change their immigration policy can get behind this idea that does not really change anything. It’s a position that many countries could back and might even get a majority. By putting the focus on resourceful smugglers, the UK is moving away from the danger to human life by saying the real enemy is the smugglers, who will be empowered by changing visa law.

Examples of Bad MUN Opening Speeches

Example bad opening speech - #1.

Committee : ECOSOC

Country : Egypt

TOPIC :  Rebuilding the Middle East

We, the Arab Republic of Egypt believe that we should help rebuild the Middle East and specifically Syria .

While the 580,000 casualties of the civil war in Syria are extremely regrettable, the real victims are the people trying to stay alive in the conflict zone that is modern Syria. More than 6.2 million people are displaced . 13.1 million are still in need of humanitarian assistance . The estimated unemployment rate stands at 54 percent . Also, 83.5 percent of the 19,454,263 Syrians live below the poverty line . Cities have been engulfed in crime, police stations closed down and the overall police personal dropped from 100,000 officers to 20,000 . Rates of theft increased, with criminals looting houses and stores. To fix this problem we need to rebuild the Middle East by rebuilding Syria!

Clash – Rebuilding the Middle East = Rebuilding Syria 

Information – A lot of facts about how difficult life is in Syria.

Call to Action – There is none.

This speech starts with the clash going half way. It focuses the rebuilding efforts on Syria. This excludes Iraq, and other candidate states, but is also a fairly predictable option which could be expected from a majority of delegates (at least if the committee takes place late 2019).

After the place setting in Syria, the speech brings many facts. This shows research but a clear lack of focus. The facts shows life in Syria is difficult, but the knowledge that life is difficult for Syrians is something everyone in the committee probably knows. The information is scattered between those who need aid, those who are unemployed and the information about dropping police forces. There is no Call to Action to make use of the data so the listener is left with the conclusion that life in Syria is hard, which they knew before the committee began.

Furthermore, the information in this speech can be used to support almost any Call to Action, from sending emergency humanitarian aid workers throughout the country to giving 100% support to Bashar Assad to reassert full control. This is the danger in giving a speech with a sort of Clash, Information and no Call to Action. Anyone can use your facts to support their own agenda.

Example Bad Opening Speech #2

Country : Ireland

The Republic of Ireland declares that we need to rebuild the Middle East ! Ireland believes that we should take action against the war and apply sanctions against the rebel terrorists in Syria and even resort to military action if necessary to stop the war. Syria is in such a poor condition because of the west’s irresponsible behavior regarding the war. The millions who died and fled are directly our fault. This is the same level of neglect seen after the Vietnam war in 1975 , when we left over 2 million as the casualty count and fled to lick our wounds and rebuild ourselves. Once the war is over, we should send financial aid to rebuild Syria again and prevent any future wars from happening. 

Clash – Unclear. 1) Rebuild the Middle East (off clash), 2) Apply Sanctions against rebel terrorists in Syria, 3) Resort to military action.

Information – Vietnam war ended in 1975. Casualty count of over 2 million.

Call to Action – Send financial aid.

This speech is a mess of mixed messages. The Clashline is Off Clash, as there likely isn’t a country who would say they do not support the idea of rebuilding the Middle East (whatever that means). We then hear “we should apply sanctions against the terrorists in Syria” with no further explanation of how this will work or who they are. We then hear “resort to military action to stop the war” with no explanation about who we are taking action against. It could be the undefined terrorists mentioned before. It could be the Syrian army. It could be someone else.

The information in this speech is about the Vietnam war. The example is extremely dated, and the numbers undefined and possibly incorrect. However, the larger issue with the information is that it doesn’t serve a purpose. The west abandoning the Middle East is never even hinted at in the beginning of the clash. It also has nothing to do with the one liner Call to Action that comes later.

The Call to Action, if we can even call it that, has nothing to do with any previous part of the speech. If anything, sending aid is the opposite of sanctions and war, both of which have nothing to do with the American withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975.

Overall, this is a confusing speech where each part sends a different message from the other parts. This speech is very open to highjacking by another delegate who will say that this speech supports their ideas. Another option is this speech is ignored. What is clear is the direction the committee takes will likely not be set by this speech.

Example Bad Opening Speech - #3

Committee : ECOFIN

Country : Peru

Topic : Responsible Usage of Arctic Resources

Peru believes that every Arctic country has the sovereignty to use their resources .

However, because of the climate changes, we should create a special committee that will discuss this subject and find ways to decrease the ecological damage. The Arctic region contains major reserves of uranium, copper, tungsten, gold, diamonds and most importantly gas and oil . In addition, it’s one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the world. Climate changes and release of contaminants in the Arctic have potential to affect European and global weather patterns. The Arctic is particularly sensitive to the effects of global warming, and icebergs are melting at a rapid rate. Scientists fear that it will cause a significant rise in sea levels around the world, and that in the 20th of the 21 century there will be no ice zone at all during the summer.

Clash – Countries can use resources within their territory.

Information – Names of resources in the arctic and some more scattered data.

Call to Action – Create a special committee.

This speech starts with a pretty clear Clash, that countries who have access to the arctic can use their resources as they please. The next line contradicts the first and presents either an alternative Clash or a Call to Action in the form of creating a “special committee” to find ways to decrease egonolical damage (first time this is mentioned).  The rest of the speech is an array of information that doesn’t really point at anything. Some of it counts as Information in the form of new facts but most of what is said doesn’t really serve a purpose. At the end of the speech we are left wondering what was the point. From the third sentence the speech rambles on with no connection to the Clash or Call to Action which end up forgotten by the end of the speech..

Example Bad Opening Speech - #4

Country : Cuba

The Arctic states are completed and integrated by customary international sea law and several treaties. The Arctic includes areas of the national sovereignty. Cuba fully respects these sovereign rights and will be ready to play their role to confront global challenges with its scientific and technological expertise and leading companies to contribute to a sustainable Arctic development while respecting the ecosystem and indigenous people.

In this frame, Cuba expects the extending bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the Arctic, in the framework of international law to create a committee to cooperate in the following subjects : wider access of geo- strategic interest , scientific cooperation on climate change and environmental protection , economic expertise in the use of mineral resources , cooperation on human lives in extreme climate conditions .

Clash – None.

Information – None.

Call to Action – Create a committee to do basically everything.

This speech opening with what is clearly not a clashline. Cuba then says they “fully respect sovereign rights” and continue with a run on sentence (specifically how they will “ play their role to confront global challenges” using “scientific and technological expertise and leading companies” to “contribute to a sustainable Arctic development” while “respecting the ecosystem and indigenous people.”)

This delegate’s opening speech, unknowingly, tries to cover everything. The same can be seen in their call to action where the committee is created to do 5 separate things, which could each be an entire Call to Action in its own right.

This speech is hard to follow and tries to commit to so many different things. As a result, almost any other delegate can say that Cuba supports them. There are buzzwords like terms that have no clear link between them such as “sustainable Arctic development”,  “ecosystem”, “indigenous people” and more. Overall, it is a difficult speech to follow where the listener is left without a clear idea of what the delegate wants, unless if what they want is absolutely everything.

Country : Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic says we have to take care of the arctic . It is important because there are many resources there which the world will be sad to lose. It also has endangered species.

We have not been careful with the arctic. Countries could also go to war over it. We need to be responsible. This means setting up mechanisms to protect the environment. We should also create treaties to protect nature and the natural resources there.

We owe it to our children and their children to take care of the arctic . We will have failed them if they ask us “why were you not responsible”. We need to be able to have an answer. As ECOFIN, we need to make sure the United Nations ensures that its member states use the arctic responsibly or do not use it at all. If we want an arctic when we are older we need to protect it today!

Clash – The clash in this speech is off clash.

Information – There are zero facts in this speech.

Call to Action – “take care of the arctic” which could mean anything.

This speech could have been written by someone who only read the name of the topic. Everything in it is general. No fact is present and no original idea is presented.

The only merit of this speech is that it can be read dramatically but even then there is nothing to remember except for lines like “we owe it to our children and their children to take care of the arctic.” At best, this speech shows eloquence and a knack for drama. What it does not do is set or drive debate in any way. Coming away from this you can assume no research was done and there is possibly a lack of understanding of how a MUN works.

Adapting Your Opening Speech in Real Time 

At this point, you should be able to understand the different parts of a MUN opening speech and how they work together. Inspired by the examples and opening speech analysis, the patterns and characteristics of a good MUN opening speech should be clear. The final part of the opening speech process is the modifications you will sometimes need to do to adapt your speech to the previous speeches that came before yours.

MUN RULE: Always ready to adapt in real-time. This rule applies to your opening speech.

Just because it’s your first speech , doesn’t mean it’s the first speech in the committee room. 

Ideas will come up from the very first opening speech in the committee. Once a delegate utters the words,“Honorable chair distinguished delegate” you should be ready to make a few modifications to your opening speech. Adapting  to the room and the ideas is key to success in MUN.

Factor in the speaking order

Opening speeches are usually heard alphabetically. Other options are reverse alphabetical , in order of seating or completely at random . 

Write your speech to build on top of others

Take note of the first letter of your country, write your speech with your place in the speaking order in mind. Countries with the letters A through C often give the first speeches, since not every committee has interviews countries with every letter in the alphabet. : )

(Remember although most conferences have opening speeches in alphabetical order, this is not a guarantee) 

The countries who start their opening speech have first crack at defining the terms, setting the Clash and introducing the first Calls to Action.

More delegates on your Clash = Better

If you are not the first delegate making an opening speech, it is very possible you will join an existing Clash. Joining other delegates with the same idea is not a bad thing. The more delegates who subscribe to your world view the better chance you have to get a majority.

Hearing your Clash by another delegate in previous speeches is a very good thing. This lays the foundation to start building your coalition already during the opening speech stage through a tactic called echoing .

If you are not the first delegate making an opening speech, think what is likely to have been said and add to it. It is very possible you will join an existing Clash. This is not a bad thing. The more delegates there are who subscribe to your world view the better chance you have to get a majority.

As long as it isn’t Off Clash, hearing your Clash in some of the previous speeches is a very good thing. This means you can start building your coalition already during the opening speech stage through a tactic called echoing.

Echo others

Echoing is mentioning another country by name in your speech. You can echo that you agree with them or disagree. You can directly quote or paraphrase. Echoing is not limited to opening speeches but it is a very potent strategy to use when you aren’t the first speaker.

How to Echo:

Echoing in an opening speech is usually best done right before your clash. You can also echo a country in the middle of your speech but it has a larger chance of getting missed.

Echoing in an opening speech can look something like this:

“Portugal agrees with Denmake, France and Haiti and disagreed with Russia and Pakistan.”

When you mention another country by name their ears perk up and they listen. You want allies and the opposing bloc to listen. You definitely want the countries you mention by name to listen.

Echoing in an opening speech needs to have a purpose. The purpose is usually to start putting your coalition together. Mentioning someone else in your speech grants you street credit with them. On a secondary level echoing helps set the Clash. Other countries will see that a number of delegates see your Clash as the issue to discuss and can choose to come on board, or at least acknowledge the Clash as something to be addressed.

If you are not one of the first speakers echoing it is also a way to show other delegates that you’re listening. If you mention countries who spoke at the beginning when you’re one of the later delages to speak, it sounds like your stopped listening at the beginning. It’s better to echo a country from the beginning, middle and a few speakers before you. This way the delegates in the room know your are attentive. 

Echoing other delegates as a way to communicate with them from within your opening speech. Those extra words can help you start building coalitions, and agreeing on what reality the committee is taking place in, before the opening speeches end.

Finally, remember that echoing is part of your word count . If you’re going to echo, factor that into your speech time. A strategy some delegates use is writing their opening speech with 10 words less than fits a minute to leave room for echoing.

Saying CtA Best > Saying CtA First

Some MUN topics have a limited number of policies that can be implemented. If you’re a further down the opening speech list it is very likely someone said your policy, or something like it. This too is a good thing. When the topic has only three or four viable policies, it should be expected that some ideas will repeat themselves.

If you’re dealing with an earthquake there are only so many ways to rescue people from under the rubble.

If you’re dealing with a virus, there are only so many ways to vaccinate and research an antidote.

This is why would should not worry about saying the Call to Action first. On some topics, if you’re the only one to say it, you likely have a much larger problem

This is where going into detail and SMART policy come into play. You can echo the other countries who mentioned your policy idea in one line and develop it. If they gave one line at the end of their speech but you take 25 seconds to explain, the credit will go to you.

Remember that your opening speech is not the end, it’s a beginning. The delegate who best develops the idea, and pushes it the furthest over time, is the one who gets the credit. Also, you don’t need to do it alone. Having one or two strong allies will make a big difference when it comes to getting your Call to Action a central place of the draft resolution. MUN is a team activity and there is no promise of an easy ride to a majority. That is also part of the fun and the magic that is MUN. Be open to working with others and see the other delegates who try to set your Clash or introduce your Call to Action as an opportunity. CIA alone is more work for you. Others joining and supporting  your CIA is the essence of cooperation and leveling up in Model United Nations.

There you have it. The secret to writing a great MUN opening speech. Remember, a speech alone is not though. You need to combine it with proper country representation , good coalition work, and resolution writing . However, if you give a bad opening speech you will need to work extra hard to catch up afterward. This can potentially be especially hard in an expert room.

You will also have to give other speeches after the first one. There are all types of follow up speeches that are needed to keep your CIA going. Once the ideas are out, their repetition is key to keeping your ideas on the table and yourself relevant. However, now that you gave a great opening speech, you have a much better chance to influence the direction the committee takes.

You should also use the tools of CIA speech writing to critically listen to others. Listen to hear what they are missing, whether it’s a Clash, a Call to Action or data to back it up. Write notes on their speeches and factor that into your general strategy.

The tools you gained here are relevant for high school MUN, college or university MUN as well as for other platforms that involve public speech. More importantly, these tools can also be used outside of MUN. After all, being relevant, interesting and driving conversation are even more important outside of a Model UN committee simulation. Make these tools second nature and they should serve you well for a long time.

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    Get to know who will be coming and if there are any special guests you need to know about. 3. Write the Final Output for the Welcome Speech. After making the draft, and you know that it is enough, you may proceed to making your final output. Make sure that the necessary names that you need to welcome are also there.

  6. Conference Opening Speech Example

    A conference opening speech is more than just a formality. It's the pulse-setter, a tone-defining moment that can inspire or deflate. Crafting it requires insight, clarity, and precision. The first words uttered at any conference bear the weight of anticipation. They serve as a mirror, reflecting the event's ethos, aims, and expectations.

  7. How to write a welcome speech in 3 steps (with sample speech)

    There are six common or standard content items in a good welcome speech. These are: Greetings to welcome everyone and thanking them for coming along. Acknowledgement of special guests, if there are any. An introduction of the event itself and a brief overview of special highlights the audience will want to know about.

  8. 10 of the Best Things to Say in Opening Remarks

    Example of Opening Remarks involving Outfit. While representing Bhutan's steps towards sustainability, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay decided to wear a traditional outfit to represent his country in its truest essence. Watch this TED Talk to know how he connects his outfit with the overall theme of the talk. Opening Remark:

  9. 50 Speech Opening Lines (& How to Create Your Own) l The Ultimate Guide

    Examples of Speeches that Used Quotes as Opening Remarks 1. Increase your Self-Awareness with one Simple Fix By Tasha Eurich. Tennessee Williams once told us, "There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is what you'll ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in ...

  10. How to Start a Speech: The Best Ways to Capture Your Audience

    1) Thank the Organizers and Audience. You can start by thanking the audience for coming and thanking the organization for inviting you to speak. Refer to the person who introduced you or to one or more of the senior people in the organization in the audience. This compliments them, makes them feel proud and happy about your presence, and ...

  11. How to Start a Speech: The Best (and Worst) Speech Openers

    Opening Line: "All right. I'm going to show you a couple of images from a very diverting paper in The Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine.". #6: Julian Treasure - "How to Speak so that People Want to Listen". Opening Line: "The human voice: It's the instrument we all play.". #7: Jill Bolte Taylor - "My Stroke of Insight".

  12. 8 Opening a Speech: Get Their Attention from the Start!

    Typical Patterns for Speech Openings. Get the audience's attention-called a hook or a grabber. Establish rapport and tell the audience why you care about the topic of why you are credible to speak on the topic. Introduce the speech thesis/preview/good idea. Tell the audience why they should care about this topic.

  13. Welcome Speech for a Scientific Conference: Examples & Tips

    Welcome speech examples 1. Welcome and Opening Remarks - 2015 COAST/SSEW Symposium. In the above example of opening remarks for a scientific symposium, the speaker starts by welcoming everyone with a smile and lots of eye contact. It seems the attendees are in the same field of research and among familiar faces.

  14. Starting a Presentation in English: Methods and Examples

    Start with a polite welcome and state your name. Follow with your job title and/or the reason you're qualified to speak on the topic being discussed. 2. State the Purpose of Your Presentation. Now that your audience knows who you are and your qualifications, you can state the purpose of your presentation.

  15. How to Start a Speech

    After that point, you'll be able to change those opinions about as easily as you can change a hamster into a ham sandwich. So here's how to be strong in the first 60 seconds of your speech. (2) Your opening sets the entire tone of your presentation (including whether you'll be interesting or not). (3) This is when you introduce your message and ...

  16. How to Write a Welcome Speech

    In your notes or outline, you'll want to include the following steps: Welcome the audience - use a clear and strong voice to welcome all attendees and grab their attention. an example of an informal greeting: "Hello and welcome, everyone!". an example of a formal greeting: "Good evening to all attendees.

  17. How to Open a Speech

    Suggest that the audience complete a mathematical equation and promise to give the answer context during the speech. 21. The Activity Open - Of all the 25 ways to open, this one triggers the most immediate engagement. Use it during training sessions and workshops when you are trying to teach a specific skill.

  18. Welcome Speech for Seminar

    10 Lines Welcome Speech for Seminar. Good morning everyone, welcome to our seminar today! We are honoured to have such a distinguished group of teachers and students joining us. Today's event promises an engaging and enlightening experience for all of us. Let's open our minds and hearts to new ideas as we come together to learn new facts and ...

  19. How to nail the welcome speech for a webinar

    5 elements of the perfect webinar welcome speech. Before writing a welcome address for a webinar, you'll need to divide your intro into a few important sections. We've broken down the steps below to help guide you through the process. 1. Start with a greeting and thank attendees for their time. When greeting your webinar attendees, remember ...

  20. 38 Top Opening and Closing Remarks for Meetings

    Opening and closing remarks for meetings are statements that introduce and wrap up workplace get-togethers. The purpose of these remarks is to set the tone of the subject matter and summarize topics covered during the meeting. Examples of opening and closing remarks for meetings include quick welcomes to attendees, announcements explaining the ...

  21. Opening Speech

    Doing this will give you an idea of how to catch the attention of your listeners. 2. Acknowledge The Guests. Of course, one of the purposes of giving an opening speech at every event is to welcome the guests. Convey how thankful the organizers are for their acceptance of the event invitation. Also, do not forget to thank them for sparing time ...

  22. Opening speech sample

    In this post, we have listed tips and opening speech samples. Those are useful for conferences and seminars and webinars. Opening speech sample: Useful guide 1) Mention the event organizer. All the experts in opening Speech examples recommend that start the presentation with an appreciation to the event organizer. You can tell that you are ...

  23. Master of Ceremony Opening Speech

    3 Step Guide to Writing a Great Master of Ceremony Opening Speech. Over the last 20 years I've had to write an Opening Speech for hundreds of large events where I have been engaged as the MC. Some have been relatively easy, while others have required many hours of effort and thought. Rather than reinvent the wheel each time, I now have a 3 ...

  24. Write a Welcome Speech for an Event

    Here's a great example of an opening ceremony created for TNW Conference 2016: What the TNW organisers did is weave the concept of "driving a change through technology" into the real context. The girl who's giving the speech at the beginning is the future, and the future depends on our actions and determines how this girl will look and ...

  25. MUN Opening Speech Guide with Examples

    A MUN opening speech should cover the following: Problem. The specific problem you want to solve - 1 line. Clash. Solution - What you want to do about the issue - 1 line. Information. Back up your views on the issue and solutions with facts from research. - 2 lines. Action.