Here are some rib tickling speech openers that I have used and survived ! If I am able to get my audience to smile in the first few minutes, I feel confident and can connect with them well !
I better talk some sense after that but that initial rapport building using humor gives me a tremendous headstart ! Also I read about the primacy and recency theory. If you don’t manage to hook the attention of the audience in the first three minutes, you might as well be speaking to the birds ! The audience also sits up in the last three minutes and you better give them a memorable message or summarise !
So, go ahead and try some of these openers and do let me know if they were well received !
- I was introduced as a warm personality once. I looked up the dictionary and found the meaning -“not so hot”.
- I’m so glad the hall is full today. I remember the time when I was asked to address a Rotary club and found only three people in the audience ! I was furious and asked the organiser ‘ Did you tell them that I am going to be speaking today ?” He replied ” No sir. Someone else must have told them !”
- Thank you for those wonderful words of introduction which I so richly deserve but rarely get !
- I don’t think I deserve all the praise . Well, I have diabetes and I don’t deserve that either !”
- My public speaking coach gave me this sagely advice. ” Never begin a speech by saying I don’t deserve all this praise. The audience is soon going to find out anyway !’
- This is the second best introduction I’ve got in my life. The best was three weeks ago when I went to speak at a college reunion. The MC who was to introduce me did not turn up and I had to introduce myself !
- I wish my parents were here to listen to my flattering introduction. My father would have enjoyed it and my mother would have believed it !
- I am allergic to the word refreshing. After what I thought was a passionate speech, this guy comes up and says, ‘ Thank you, I feel so refreshed after listening to your speech !”
“Was it so energising ?” I asked with glee. ” Yes, I was a new man when I woke up !” he said.
- At a pre -lunch session, I opened my speech this way – “I asked the organisers about how long I get to speak. They said ‘ How can we put a limit to a great speaker like you ! You can speak for however long you want. All of us will go for lunch at 1 p.m. “
If you have used an interesting one liner or an anecdote as a speech opener, do post in this column !