How do we start a speech?

Five tips on how to start a successful speech

Reading time: 3 minutes

Because it is different than an entry into a post normally is. Why? An author who realizes that he has written a banal introduction to his article with a truism like “It depends on the beginning” will delete this text immediately and look for a better formulation.

But by pointing out what kind of “flop” he has just written and adding: “So let's start again”, he has already found an introduction that stands out from other introductory texts .

A speech, presentation, lecture, etc. is about nothing else. The opening has to stand out, it has to be unusual. At best it is spectacular.

You can e.g. B. Open your wallet, take out a bill and say:

“This is the most valuable banknote I have with me”. And then you name the amount, hold a lighter under the banknote with the other hand and ask your audience: "Do you want to see what happens now?" You will certainly hardly get a negative reaction.

The point is not that you are speculating about the burning of bills. This is just one example of what should be important to you if you want to captivate people.

1. Do "AAAAA" - "Anything Different Than Everyone else"

After surprising your audience with an entry that is unlike any other, get straight to the point.

2. Do not use the greeting

Nothing is more boring for your audience when they hear: "I warmly welcome you to my lecture on ...". That is an empty "blah-blah". You can even do without saying “Hello” if you have instead opted for a spectacular greeting.

Critics will object that “hello” is a form of politeness. In your speech, they will probably also greet all possible guests from the district administrator to the second mayor to the chairman of the handicraft group - and thus bore the majority of the people who are not mentioned. Incidentally, it is not uncommon for the people explicitly greeted to be bored - because they have had to endure such greetings dozens of times and have not felt honored as a result for a long time.

3. Save yourself organizational hints

If you begin your speech with a reference to the pauses, you are discrediting what you have to say before the first sentence has been spoken.

4. Don't introduce yourself

Either you have already been announced by a moderator or the host, or your audience already knows who is speaking to them from the invitation or the program schedule. So don't impress your audience with details from your vita, but with what you have to announce in terms of content.

5. Avoid explaining the content of your presentation

It is a mistake to provide information about the structure of the lecture at the beginning of your presentation. Once you list what your audience is about to hear, attention will rapidly decline.

Because your audience then already knows what to expect. The tension is out, the chance for surprises, amazement or fascination is gone. Worse still, the first guests could leave as soon as you gave an overview of your presentation because they think they won't hear anything new from you.

Admittedly, it is not always easy to observe these five points in practice. Many a speaker uses introductions, organizational hints or the self-portrayal of his person to bridge an inner insecurity, to warm up, so to speak. In doing so, however, he gambled away the decisive opportunity to inspire his audience and to make them receptive to his subsequent content-related messages.

Good and bad examples

Good and bad examples of this theory can be found daily on television and radio. Because there are always moderators who after the opening credits of a program, z. B. the "Sportschau", greet their audience - for example with the words: "Welcome to the Sportschau".

It then seems as if the audience is too stupid to recognize which program they have just tuned in. This is often followed by announcements of the subsequent contributions - and this not only destroys any chance of surprising the audience, worse still: part of the audience is pissed off.

Because everyone who is not interested in the announced posts will now switch. A positive example of the theory of avoiding announcements is the decision made years ago to forego announcers on radio and television.

Not because they are too expensive, but because it is nonsense to announce a program that is then explained by its opening credits anyway. And what the opening credits are for a broadcast, the invitation or the program for your presentation is what your audience expects when you perform.

So: after a surprising introduction, always get straight to the point, and talk about the essentials.

Photo credit: Monkey Business /

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