Introduction of a Speech

Presentation (iStock: © Jeff Bergen)

There are lectures that will be remembered long after. Others quickly disappear into memory again. Why is a successful speech so important? And how can you convince your audience of yourself and your words?

The first sentences of a speech decide whether the speaker can inspire his listeners or not. In psychology this is the so-called primacy effect. People tend to remember the beginning of a speech particularly well. The individual listener makes a judgement about the sympathy, trust and competence of the speaker in the first few seconds. If he or she likes the introduction, the enthusiasm for the topic is usually also great during the presentation. All the more important is the best possible preparation! This includes not only body language, appearance and appearance, but also the first appropriate sentence.

In this article you will find out with which contents you can fill your speech entry and which statements you should absolutely avoid. Get tips and examples for the design of your presentation.

Also make yourself comfortable with the free offers (e.g. e-books and webinars) of our rhetoric professional Msc. Marian Zefferer familiar!

Table of Contents

  1. Goals
  2. Tips
  3. Avoid
  4. Contents
  5. 10 Possibilities

The Aims of your Introduction

  • establishing contact with the audience
  • attract attention
  • Remember the occasion
  • Create sympathy
  • entry into the topic

Tips for the Introduction

Initiate speech
Introduce speech (iStock: © Drazen)

The participants should be encouraged to focus their attention on you and to get used to you. Especially the first moments are often very important, because this is when your listeners get a first impression of you, which is very difficult to correct later on. Therefore pay special attention in this phase:

  • Body posture
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Gesture
  • Rhetoric
  • Body language


Often it is very useful to learn the first sentences of a presentation by heart and note them down literally on the keyword manuscript. The latter also applies to:

  • The names of guests or special participants to be addressed
  • The exact formulation of the presentation goal.

Things you should avoid

  • Excuses
    You shouldn't start the introduction with an excuse like "I'm not really a good speaker"...
  • Non-meaningless words
    "Today I have the extraordinary pleasure..."
  • Flat rate salutation
    "Dearly beloved"-Avoid this impersonal, blanket form of address. Nobody likes to be characterised by being "present"! "Dear guests of our company, dear employees, dear friends of baroque music". Salutations of this kind are many times more personal and individual!
  • Floskles
    "I am glad that you have appeared in such large numbers" - This phrase, so popular with bad speakers, is logically nonsense. Not a single listener has appeared "in number". Besides, no listener is happy if the speaker measures the audience interest by quantity. Just say: "I am happy to welcome you here tonight!" or - in a more intimate circle - "I am happy that you came!"

The Contents of your Introduction

  • Speech and greeting of the audience
    When the speaker begins to speak, many an audience sits before him like a block of ice. With a warm welcome you can melt the ice in the first few seconds. However, you should avoid the bad habits listed below.
  • Presentation
    State your full name slowly and clearly. It's best to make sure that every participant can see your name written in some form. Either make sure it is written on the invitation or on a name tag, or write it on a blackboard.
  • Naming of the topic of the presentation and demarcation from other topics
    In this way you give the participants the necessary orientation. Not everyone is as familiar with the topic to be presented as the presenter, who has spent some time on it. Lead the participants slowly into the topic and develop your thoughts so that they are comprehensible.
  • Shortly introduce contents and procedure
    Maybe you already use visualisation possibilities or hand out participant documents so that the participants can follow your explanations more easily. Caution: If you do not intend to stick to a fixed procedure, you should not make the procedure known. Otherwise you might create false expectations. If you don't follow a fixed schedule, you are more flexible, but you have to be a bit more careful not to lose the thread. If the course of the event remains visible to the participants all the time, this usually increases their receptiveness and retention capacity.
  • Represent own professional competence
    This information is for your self-presentation. Briefly state your background and activities in relation to the topic of the presentation. You will be more likely to gain the trust of the participants if you are very familiar with the field you are talking about.
  • Call objectives of the presentation
    Be honest from the beginning and do not leave the participants in the dark about what you are really about. Almost all participants will have experienced it often enough in everyday life that someone pretended to just want to inform and advise them and in the end handed out the order form and urged them to buy. Be open and fair! In this way you show your conversation partners that you take them seriously and value them.
  • Establish practical relevance
    Tell the participants what you are going to use what you are going to present now present in their everyday life. This will increase their attention and interest.

10 Possibilities for your Introduction

  1. Current event of the last days

    "Dear Members of Parliament, in the last few days several nations have carried out underground nuclear tests. The US has subsequently imposed sanctions on these nations. The question for us now is how we should react to these nuclear tests."

  2. Name spectacular facts

    "Dear listeners, last year 20% of the newly founded companies made a profit of over one million €. Find out now how such an astonishingly high performance could be achieved."

  3. Citation

    "Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Twain once said: "To success there is no lift - you have to use the stairs." The same applies to the opportunities for advancement in our company. However, in the next twenty minutes you will learn how you can climb this staircase step by step as quickly as possible."

  4. Definition

    "Dear ladies, emancipation means the legal and social equality of women and men. The liberation from a state of dependence. But emancipation does not mean ..."

  5. Personal Experience

    "Dear audience, a few days ago I witnessed a terrible traffic accident. Two cars collided. One of the drivers died at the scene of the accident, the other was seriously injured and taken to hospital. As the press reported the next day, these dramatic consequences could have been prevented if the drivers had also used their seat belts. Let us therefore consider together how we can more effectively draw attention to the dangers of traffic."

  6. Provocant Thesis

    "Dear guests, according to statistical estimates of the German intelligence service, about every tenth German citizen is suicidal. According to these estimates, there are at least 20 suicide candidates among us."

  7. Ask a Question or Raise a Problem

    Tip:If you ask a rhetorical question, you should not pause too long after that and answer the question yourself, otherwise you might get a pretty quick answer from the audience that you didn't expect. "If you are travelling in the mountains with a car, you can then rule out one hundred per cent that another car will meet you, with you collides and you crash down the slope? No - you can't, but still you ride very calmly and trust that it won't happen. If you enter into a partnership, can you be sure that your partner won't cheat on you one day? No - you can't - and this leads to the fact that you cannot trust your partner, develop doubts and fears and thus finally destroy the partnership itself."

  8. Humour or funny Story

    "Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin with a short story: A drunk man is looking for his key under a lantern. A passer-by steps in and asks the man: "What are you looking for? My key, the drunk man answers. Thereupon they both search for the key. But they cannot find it. The passer-by asks: "Are you sure you lost your key here? - No, back there, but it's too dark." [Pause]
    Perhaps we should also start to look for savings opportunities in other places."

  9. Emergency Solution

    "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the presentation on the subject of ..."

  10. Placing a motivational Foil

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