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An Unforgettable Opener

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Why are you reading this? Giraffes are 30 times more likely to get hit by lightning than people. “Thought is free.” –William Shakespeare. 

There is immense power in your opening line. Crafting a compelling opening for a speech is a crucial skill that can captivate your audience and set the tone for the entire presentation. A strong opener grabs attention, establishes a connection with your audience, and creates a heightened level of anticipation for what’s to come. Here are some key elements to consider when creating a good opener for your speech:

  1. Know Your Audience:
  • Before you start drafting your opener, take the time to understand your audience. Consider their interests, background, and expectations. Tailoring your opening to fit the crowd will make it more engaging and relatable.
  1. Start with a Story:
  • Human beings are naturally drawn to stories. Opening your speech with a relevant and compelling anecdote can instantly capture attention. Whether it’s a personal story or a historical narrative, stories create an emotional connection and make your message more memorable.
  1. Pose a Thought-Provoking Question:
  • Begin your speech by posing a question that stimulates curiosity and encourages reflection. This not only engages the audience but also sets the stage for the exploration of ideas. A well-crafted question can make your audience think and create a sense of involvement.
  1. Use a Powerful Quote:
  • Incorporating a relevant and impactful quote can add depth and authority to your speech. Choose a quote that aligns with the theme of your presentation and resonates with your audience. It can serve as a thought-provoking introduction or as a foundation for the ideas you’ll be discussing.
  1. Share a Surprising Fact or Statistic:
  • Opening with a surprising or counterintuitive fact can grab your audience’s attention and make them eager to learn more. Ensure that the statistic or fact is directly related to the topic of your speech and serves as a compelling reason for your audience to listen.
  1. Create a Vivid Image:
  • Paint a vivid picture with your words to transport your audience into the world of your speech. Use descriptive language to evoke emotions and engage the senses. The more you can make your audience visualize and feel your message, the more memorable your opener will be.
  1. Inject Humor:
  • When appropriate, humor can be an effective tool to break the ice and establish a connection with your audience. A well-timed joke or a light-hearted anecdote can create a positive atmosphere and make your speech more enjoyable.
  1. Establish Relevance:
  • Clearly communicate why your topic is relevant and important to your audience. Help them see the value in listening to your speech by connecting your message to their interests, needs, or concerns.
  1. Build Anticipation:
  • Tease what’s to come in your speech without giving away all the details. Building anticipation creates a sense of curiosity and keeps the audience engaged. It encourages them to stay tuned to discover the insights and information you’re about to share.
  1. Practice Delivery:
  • No matter how well-crafted your opener is, effective delivery is key. Practice your speech multiple times, paying attention to your tone, pacing, and emphasis. Confidence in delivery enhances the impact of your opening and sets a positive tone for the entire presentation.

In conclusion, a good opener is the gateway to a successful speech. By understanding your audience, incorporating storytelling elements, and employing various attention-grabbing techniques, you can create an opening that captures attention, establishes connection, and paves the way for a memorable and impactful presentation.

Allie Satterfield competed in the NCFCA for four years, and she was the 2023 NCFCA Moot Court National Champion. She is currently attending Patrick Henry College, where she competes in collegiate forensics and is pursuing a major in Political Theory. If you would like to book coaching with Allie, Click Here.


Posted on

December 15, 2023

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