Ideas for Opening a Speech

Public Speaking – Five Unusual Ways to Open a Speech

The opening of a speech is one of its two most important parts. There are many conventional ways to begin a speech. But sometimes, you really want to do something quite different than most speakers.

Here are five ways to begin a speech in an unusual, yet captivating manner:

“To speak for your ears, I have overcome fears, To silence your groans, My skills I have honed.” Well, maybe not my rhyming skills. Start with a poem. Very few people will recite poems at any time in their speeches. Doing so makes you different, intriguing, and interesting. Pick a poem that is short, lively, and related to your theme or your message.

“I see trees of green, red roses too I see em bloom, for me and for you And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” This sounds like a poem… but not if you sing the words. Start your speech with a song. Ideally, you would want to do justice to the lyrics penned by Bob Thiele and George David Weis, or by any other songwriter. But if you cannot hold a tune, think of it as a great start to a humorous speech!

Use an audio entrance. I once heard a speaker begin his speech with a spoken entrance, that was recorded over a spatial-themed score. The lights had been turned down and it felt out of this world. This opening delivered the goods: everyone listened with bated breath, from beginning to end. Take care, though, that your recording sounds professional and not tinny, otherwise you will get the opposite effect.

Blow up a balloon. Or do something equally unexpected. Catch the audience off guard. Of course, you have to watch out. If you do something too outrageous, you could cause trouble for yourself. Make sure nobody is drinking hot liquid when you do this.

Perform a magic trick. There are many easy magic tricks you can find online. Most of them simply require a bit of practice to learn. You can learn a few, then pick one that matches the topic of your talk and begin with that. The idea is to take the audience by surprise and to make it entertaining from the start.

The two most important parts of a speech are the introduction and the conclusion. The introduction sets the tone for your speech, while the conclusion determines how the audience will feel when they leave. Set yourself apart from the crowd, with your own unusual opening.

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Laurent Duperval helps professionals become influent communicators. He publishes the “Bring Out The Speaker In You” electronic newsletter, which aims to help readers improve their public speaking and communication skills.

You can reach him at

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