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Writing Introduction to Speech

by Ron Kurtus (2 March 2013)

Introduction OR Opening???


It is good to start writing a speech with its introduction. This is where you get the attention of the audience and their interest in the subject matter. Then you end the introduction by telling the audience what the speech will be about.


An introduction also establishes relevance and credibility. Tell your audience why the speech matters. If you need to establish your credentials as an authority on the topic, this is the part of a speech to do that. The thesis gives your audience a preview of your main points. For example, you might introduce a speech on driving fast like this: "According to the state Highway Patrol, driving over the speed limit is the cause of over half of all fatal crashes. Many people lose loved ones in car crashes, and I am no different. My sister died last year in a wreck caused by speeding. I will discuss the hazards of speeding and discuss practical ways to slow down."

The first thirty seconds of your speech are probably the most important. In that period of time you must grab the attention of the audience, and engage their interest in what you have to say in your speech. This can be achieved in several ways. For example you could raise a thought-provoking question, make an interesting or controversial statement, recite a relevant quotation or even recount a joke. Once you have won the attention of the audience, your speech should move seamlessly to the middle of your speech


Develop the Opening

In Project 1 you learned that every speech has an opening, body and conclusion.

The opening should immediately catch the audience's attention and tell the audience what you will be talking about. Examples of a good opening are:

Avoid these weak openings:


Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Get attention

As a speech writer, you want to help the speaker get the attention of the audience.

A common way is with a salutation, where the speaker greets important people in the audience, as well as the audience itself.

An example is when the President of the United States starts the State of the Union address: "Mr. Vice President, Speaker of the House, members of Congress, and the American public..."

Another way of getting the audience's attention is by asking a question:

"Let me ask you a question. How many of you drive too fast?"

This, in turn, leads into getting the interest of the audience.

Get interest

In order to get interest the speech, you must have prepared for this audience and occasion. Then you can make some appropriate comments.

After the salutation, the President may comment on the occasion or on some issues: "The economic outlook of our great nation is good. But we still can make improvements."

If you have written a question for the speaker to ask, you can follow up by stating a problem or concern that will interest the audience.

State what the speaker will talk about

You conclude the introduction by stating what the speaker will talk about in the speech.

"Tonight, I'm going to encourage you to vote for our candidate."

"On this fine occasion, I'm going to tell you some amusing stories about our host."

This will lead into the body and content of the speech.


Start writing a speech with its introduction, so that you get the attention of the audience and their interest in the subject matter. Then end the introduction by telling the audience what the speech will be about.

Prepare your audience

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Speech Structure - How to organize your speech -

Speech Writing Resources


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