How to start a speech in class is one of the most repeated questions by those who have to speak before an audience. Any public discourse has a beginning and an end and, as most of us usually start at the beginning. It is the first question that arises: how to start a speech.
But before continuing I would like to clarify one thing. What is a speech? The first thing that comes to mind to many when we hear the word speech is political speech. We think of someone in a suit behind a music stand. It is the people in suits who look like successful people. Until you realize that they work for people you saw in jeans and a T-shirt. Although that is a subject for another day. A speech is an exhibition made in front of a group of people in which a subject is treated.
Read also: Tips for speaking in public
How to start a speech in class? Ideas of great success
In oratory, there are three basic principles: that they attend you, that they understand you and that they remember you. The order is not random. So the first thing you have to get with the speech is to be served.
Do this exercise:
Take the novel you are reading or the last one you read. Open the first page and tell me how it starts.
As I know you will continue reading this without doing it, I do it for you.
I look at the novels I have on the bookshelf, take the lord of the Rings of Tolkien and start like this:
“When Mr. Bilbo Baggins closed, he announced that he would soon celebrate his birthday…”
I take Rebellion on the farm of George Orwell and start like this:
“Mr. Jones, the owner of the Manor Farm, closed the night …”
They go straight to the point. No boring presentations.
Yes, I know. They are not examples of speeches but they are equally valid. One of the writer’s duties is to capture the reader’s attention so he can continue reading. And one of the speaker’s duties is to capture the audience’s attention so that he can continue listening.
How do you not get attention?
Writing an introduction.
Let’s go back to the books before. Both have a prologue. They start like this:
“This book is mainly about hobbits, and the reader will discover in its pages …”
“This book was thought a long time ago. His central idea dates from 1937… ”
Do you know what people do with prologues?
If you do not want to skip your conference do not use those phrases to start a speech that is pure formalism.
“Good morning to everybody. First of all, I would like to thank you for coming. It is a pleasure to be here. I am Pedro Álvarez and today I will talk about the different functionalities of this new product… ”
A presentation is not a book and instead of turning the page people take out their cell phones or start thinking about the next photo that will be posted on Instagram but the result is the same.
Now you can discuss the best topics for a speech that if you get bored and predictable people will disconnect.
Even in a short speech, where you don’t speak more than five minutes, the attention span of people is very limited.
Remember, your first job is to get that attention.
To start a speech in class: the 5 strategies
Based on the classical structure, the parts of a speech are the introduction, the knot and the outcome. In the introduction of a speech is the opening that is the first words that come out of your mouth. The first thing your audience will hear. That will keep them listening to you or have their attention taken away.
Here are five ideas to start a speech in class.
1- Personal history
Probably the best option. A personal story is something unique, sincere and that brings you closer to your audience. Personal stories reduce the gap between speaker and audience by becoming a normal person.
In his talk about global problems and philanthropy, Bill Gates begins by saying that last week he wrote a letter about the problems that were in his foundation. He doesn’t say hello, thank you or anything. Straight to the story.
You can use a provocative question or one that arouses the curiosity of the audience. The questions involve the audience because upon hearing them an automatic and involuntary process begins that aims to respond to what has been asked.
Simon Sinek, in his talk “start with why”, uses this strategy and not only asks one question but uses two.
One is fine. Two too. Three is risky. Over three, not recommended.
Famous quotes or phrases add packaging to what you say and that expert opinion can help reinforce the message you want to give. If you are going to give a talk about the vocation you could start a speech saying:
“Mark Twain said: the two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.”
Here is a shortlist of quotes and phrases for speeches that can be useful for you courtesy of the Ethos3 teammates.
* My suggestion is that you only use quotes from characters you know.
4- Shocking statistics
Beginning by revealing a shocking statistic causes the audience to be surprised and pay attention.
Jamie Oliver, in his talk about healthy eating, began by saying that 4 Americans who were alive at the beginning of their talk would be dead at the end of it because of poor diet.
Impossible not to be seduced by what will come next, right?
Starting with humor is a double-edged sword. If you master it it will make you connect with the audience more than anything else. If it does not affect, you run the risk of opening a gap that will be difficult to close.
In his famous talk about creativity, Ken Robinson opens with a joke that works for him (although, by the way, it is not the best joke in the world) and earns the first laughs.
Keep in mind that when using any of the five, what you say must be related to the central thread presentation. I do not suggest you make a speech about the creativity that young children bring into your life and start by telling a mechanic joke that nothing has to do.
Can you start a speech by introducing yourself or greeting? Of course, but then what are you reading this for? If you think it is essential to thank or introduce yourself you can always do it after your opening as Jamie Oliver did frankly.
He gives the impressive statistics and then continues: “I am Jaime Oliver. I’m 34 years old and I’m from Essex, England. ”
Do you realize how many situations fit that description? A presentation speech for a product, a toast on a birthday, a speech of thanks to some people you appreciate. No, you don’t have to wear a suit to make a speech. Once we have clarified, we return to the question in which we had stayed.