Speech Introductions Help (page 3)

Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Introduce Your Major Sub-Points

This will be a natural extension of the introduction of your topic or thesis. If you tell the audience that you're going to prove some startling opinion, you will also want to tell them what main pieces of proof you'll be offering. If you are addressing a topic with which the audience is already familiar, then you'll be stressing the aspects of your speech that will be new to them.

Remember the adage we opened with: "Tell them what you'll tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them." You are only telling them what points you're going to cover; you're not actually covering them yet—so keep it brief. Introduce each point with one sentence at the most.

Give Them a Reason to Listen

This is essentially the same technique that you used in your conclusion when you provided closure—except that this time you're providing an opener. This is the big picture that we mentioned in the last lesson, or the overview of where you're going and why you're going there. This is the time to tell the audience how your speech will influence their lives.

You don't need to get into specifics here; you'll do that in the conclusion. All the same, the audience will be interested in listening if they know that your talk will have real-life, practical application in their lives. This is the time to let them know how your speech will be useful to them.

Tips, Examples, and Practice for Speech Introductions

Be Brief

Like the conclusion, your introduction is merely a summary; it is not the body of the speech. If you have crafted it well, your audience will actually be eager to hear what you have to say—so get going!

Introducing Our Examples

Let's return once again to our speech examples. Here are ways that we might introduce each of those speeches:

Toothpaste Speech:

Good morning, and thank you for coming today. And believe me in this: You'll be glad you did, because today I'm going to change your life. In fact, I'm going to change your very smile—I'm going to offer you a better reason to smile!

Nice smiles are a passion of mine. When I was six years old, I managed to knock most of my teeth out by riding my bicycle into a tree. That experience taught me two things: Trees are hard, and teeth are important. Fortunately, my adult teeth came in to replace them, but I've spent most of my life learning how to take proper care of that set—because they can't be replaced!

And that is just what we'll be discussing here this morning: how to protect your smile. I'm sure you all use toothpaste every day, but are you sure you're using the best toothpaste? I'd like to offer you a comparison which will demonstrate that all toothpastes are not created alike; in fact, some are remarkably better than others. To that end, we'll consider three important elements of toothpaste selection: cavity prevention, whitening effects, and cost. When we're done, I think you'll agree that toothpaste A outperforms all its competitors, namely toothpaste B—and this is what is going to change your life.

First, let's consider the element of cavity protection….

Painting Speech:

Good afternoon, it's a real privilege to be invited to speak to such an illustrious group of artists! I've had the pleasure of seeing some of your own painting projects, and I was deeply impressed by the measure of expertise and artistry in them. I was awed by the lifelike qualities in several horses, and when I got to the section of military miniatures… well, I was ready to surrender!

I've been painting miniatures since I was old enough to smear my fingerprints on my mom's newly painted white walls, which was also around the time I learned not to eat the paint. My own specialty is in the realm of fantasy figures, since I have a real passion for anything that looks remotely medieval. I've brought a few of my own favorites, which I'll have here on the table for you to check out when we're done.

I'd like to consider some of the finer points of brushwork and paint selection this afternoon, paying particular attention to how the miniature's construction influences those decisions. We'll start with the various types of paint, discussing more than just the basics as we consider what works best in different conditions. Then we'll turn our attention to the actual brushwork techniques we can use to accomplish different effects, and we'll conclude by considering how different media can limit and expand our horizons. By the time we're done, I think you'll be armed to make intelligent decisions on how to paint before you paint—and this can only improve your final product.

Let's begin with the most important decision: which paint to use….

Speech Introductions Practice


Use this questionnaire together with the body of your speech to outline your introduction:

  • Attention grabber: How can I best keep the audience's attention? What would I not want to draw attention to?
  • Credentials: What makes me an expert on this topic? What does the audience already know? What new information can I offer them?
  • Topic: What will I prove in this speech? What aspects of my topic will I focus on?
  • Sub-Points: What are my sub-points? How does each point further my thesis or topic?
  • Application: Why should the audience care about listening? What is in it for them? What will they take home with them?


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