How to Start a Speech (2023)


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I have been teaching Persuasive Communications on MBA courses at IESE Business School for 10 years. This is part of a collection of short lessons compiled from my courses and shared for use both as a support to my classes, and a way of sharing this valuable knowledge to a wider audience via these awesome digital tools ;-)

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Subscribe to receive new videos in your feed: What are the first words of a speech? What should be the first sentence of a speech? How can you engage an audience from the first moment? There are 3 ways to start a speech.


One of the first words you should say in a speech.

And what are the last words you should say in a speech, Now tomorrow, I, don't know, how many of you are speaking, but I guarantee, if you go to conferences 19 out of 20 speakers will start in one of these ways number one, My name is Connor, Neal.

I'm from tango.

And this talk is about the latest trend in monitoring strategies, Now.

All of you are sitting with a piece of paper in front of you., That says, I'm, Connor, Neal, I've, come from Ireland, and I'm going to talk about tango 0-4.

And this So by repeating what you already know? I'm, giving a signal that it's a time to get your BlackBerry out I've, just signals that this talk is Opportunity to reconnect with blackberry, make sure the office is ok, maybe get some plans together for the weekend Another way to start The lights and some of the mics working and how much time have I got Ok right? Ok, Is.

It is it.

Plugged in? and You laugh, but I guarantee tomorrow.

There's going to be some moments They get a little bit up And Why.

Because this is for some of you.

The first time you see this individual.

They're here as a leader in their industry and Your kid at school presenting on giraffes does a better job.

That's sad, I, Think, there's, only three ways of starting a speech, And it's, the same.

If you went into a bar and there's a group of people as a networking event, much like you were at before, you walked into this room and Maybe I came up to a group There's group of three people who are having a little conversation.

I walk in and I say, hi., I'm, Connor, I'm, Irish, 38 years, old, I have an interest in sailing.

I like running And.

They've walked away How.

Do you get people to engage with you when you're networking I Say in networking? The best thing you can do is walk up.

I think we know someone in common Try and walk away when someone comes up and says that to you Hopefully, you've done your research.

So you do know that you've know someone in common, but with LinkedIn You can find out who knows who on anyone you want? So, how to start a speech? first way, With a question that matters to the audience How.

Do you phrase a problem that the audience faces in a question, So, that'd, be the third best way of starting a speech The second best way of starting a speech with a factoid that shocks There's more people alive today than have ever died More people alive today than have ever died There's a lot of speeches that can follow on from there, Every, two minutes, The energy, reaching the earth from the Sun is equivalent to the whole annual usage of humanity, All the energy, all the cars everything moving all the lighting all the air conditioning of the world in One year is equivalent to two minutes of Sun Does that change how you think about energy.

So, what's, a fact that shocks the audience into rethinking? and Google has transformed your ability to get at these facts Given, two or three minutes.

You can find out one whether anything I've said is true.

But you trust me because I Look the part, and I'm from ESA.

Those are in fact, two true.

Facts I Usually, get someone come up to me and are you sure? But how do they measure dead and alive? But it's, true, and it's, not even close But, the best way to Start a speech and the way that I hope all of you use from now forward is the same way.

We start a story to a child Now.

How do we start a story to a child? And, I say, oneth once upon a time And? What happens when you say once upon a time I can tell you what happens when I say once upon a time, my daughter, leans forward gets ready to hear engages and We were all trained as kids to know when a story's coming We also know when a teacher is about to deliver a 40 minute boring lecture that has no impact on our lives.

But in business, You don't, hear him, Jack Welsh saying, once upon a time, Steve, Jobs, doesn't, heart, start his speeches once upon a time, so there's, a grown-up way of saying once upon a time and If, you listen to the conversations that are interesting around you at a dinner table in A networking event.

If you listen to the people that are gathering the group of eight that are listening to them The way, they're talking is different.

The way they start is different The way.

You tell stories as an adult is in October was the last time I was in this room.

There were a hundred.

And twenty people in the room And I was having a little conversation with one of the world experts on public speaking.

And he said, something to me, He said, something to me This had me thinking ever since He said, something to me that changed What I.

Think about what's important in speaking?, Now I can pause for about 30 seconds, two or three minutes.

And you want to know what he said, So in Speaking in sales.

We assume self-interest So.

If you can tell a story from your own life that Connects you to why this topic is important to you.

Why, you first joined the company when you first saw someone benefit And, you saw how their life was changed, and I think here, exploring what quality of life means for you in your business How, do you affect quality of life for a customer? Because that's, where the stories that will start to connect you to the audience will come from Because.

Stories are about people They're, not about objects.

They are not about things.

It's about the people behind the things If.

You want to tell a good story about Tango don't.

Talk about the software talk about the people who built the software What.

They do how they are what's important to them what they sacrifice? And in your own life.

What does quality of life.

Mean? What sacrifices have you made to achieve something that was more important and If.

You can tell stories and the audience connect with those stories.

Then They want to hear what you have to say, And, all the reasons and all the benefits.

They're all written in the document.

And in the PowerPoint But, they need to trust.

You And.

They need to care about you as a person to engage with you, and then decide that they will act.


How to Start a Speech? ›

1. Choose an important topic. The first step of speech writing is deciding what your speech will be about. You may already have a general topic or idea of what you want to discuss, but narrowing your topic to a few specific points or one clear purpose will help ensure that your speech stays engaging.

What is a good starting line for a speech? ›

Nine Best Opening Lines for Public Speaking
  • Use a quote. ...
  • Reference to a well-known person. ...
  • Reference to some historical event. ...
  • Tell a funny story or start with humorous lines. ...
  • Start on a serious note. ...
  • Use a statistical fact. ...
  • Recall your story. ...
  • Ask the audience to imagine.

What is the first thing to write a speech? ›

1. Choose an important topic. The first step of speech writing is deciding what your speech will be about. You may already have a general topic or idea of what you want to discuss, but narrowing your topic to a few specific points or one clear purpose will help ensure that your speech stays engaging.

What is an example of speech opening? ›

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.

What do you say to yourself before a speech? ›

Say mantras/self-affirmations that are positive such as, o Speaking to this group, I find myself becoming energized and excited. o My words and thoughts come effortlessly to me. o I am courageous on this stage. o I enjoy hearing my own voice. o I am grateful for this opportunity to connect with others. o Today, I am ...

What is the easiest way to introduce yourself? ›

If you are not sure what to share, your name and job title is a great place to start. If there's an opportunity to elaborate, you can also share other details such as a current project, your expertise, or your geographical location.

How do you greet a speech example? ›

To greet the audience, you might greet with - Good Morning / Good afternoon / Good evening everyone. Then, you may address everyone separately as stated below: I wish a warm good (morning / afternoon/ evening) to all the teachers, my dear classmates, the students of school and everyone present today.

How to make an effective speech? ›

Use your voice expressively and meaningfully.
  1. Minimize the uhs, ums, likes and y'knows.
  2. Enunciate words clearly. Don't mumble or garble them.
  3. Speak with appropriate loudness and speed. Consider audience, place and topic.
  4. Use variations in speed, inflections, and force to enhance your meaning and hold audience attention.

What makes a great speech? ›

The best speeches include a clear, relevant message and a few great stories to illustrate it. Forget fancy PowerPoint presentations and loads of data. Instead, keep your speech simple, with a clear beginning, middle and end. Focus on one theme, and eliminate everything else.

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