Effective speech openings: a simple 3-step process

Want to know the best way to start a speech? Follow this process to captivate your audience.

I understand what motivates this question, but it’s not a good question. You see, there is no “best way” to start a speech. Every speech, every audience and every occasion requires that a speaker craft a unique opening.

In order to captivate your audience and connect with them, follow this three-step process:

Step 1: Research the audience and the event

Before speaking to a group of people, you need to know specific information both about them and about the event itself. Only then can you begin to predict the energy level, mood and mindset of your audience.

Some examples:

Let’s say you are scheduled to speak on a panel of experts. You can expect the interest and energy level of the audience to be vastly higher if you are the first speaker as opposed to being the fifth speaker on the panel.

Gaining the attention of the audience during the opening keynote on the first morning of a conference will likely be easier than holding the attention of the audience on the final afternoon. This is especially true if much of the audience spent the previous night on the receiving end of a stream of alcoholObviously, then, different situations require different approaches.

This leads us to step 2.

Step 2: Determine what the opening of your speech should do

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