HOW TO WRITE AND DELIVER A
FREAKING AMAZING SPEECH
IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS
The Opening Line
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, “Call me Ishmael”, “It was a dark and stormy night”-these are all opening lines from great novels. The importance of the first line of a novel is paramount in setting the tone for the book. A great opening line will instantly engage and grip the imagination of the reader and the same is true for a great speech although most speakers screw it up and miss the opportunity. There are a number of different ways to begin your speech, but first let’s discuss what NOT to do. DON’T start with a famous quote. “As John F. Kennedy once said, ask not what your country…or Webster’s dictionary defines love as….” Every junior high school student who has to give a speech in class does this. Is it wrong? NO. Is it common? YES. Be original. DON’T tell the audience how happy you are to be there. Some will disagree with me on this, but I am right. Who cares if you are happy to be there? It is a fluff line so don’t start that way. If you must tell them how honored you are, save it for the end. DON’T start off with a joke. Notice that I didn’t say don’t be funny. Funny is good, funny is smart, funny is actually expected in many cases. Many speakers will start off with a joke and destroy the opportunity of making a positive impact on the audience. They will either tell a joke that they got off of the internet that has been heard before, they will tell a joke that is offensive to some or all of the audience, or they just stink at telling jokes. If you are naturally funny then tell me a funny story or experience especially if it is relevant to the event. It is much safer and it is authentically you. DON’T tap the mic and ask if it is on. That is a nervous action that screams amateur. Of course the mic is on. If for some reason it’s not then you will find out soon enough. The best way, in my opinion, to begin your speech is to just start. I prefer to start as if I am in the middle of a conversation. “If you had been standing next to me on July the 26th 2008, you would have been surrounded by five hundred triathletes preparing to compete in the mission man triathlon…” Another cool way to start your speech is by asking a question. “Have you ever had a near death experience?” When you ask a question you instantly engage the listener by requiring them to process and answer even if they are answering in their mind. A striking statistic is also a great way to capture attention. “2 out of 5 American children go to bed hungry”. Now that’s a powerful statement.
TALKING TIP: IF YOU BEGIN WITH A QUESTION, GIVE THEM TIME TO ANSWER EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NOT LOOKING FOR AN AUDIBLE RESPONSE. COUNT TO FIVE IN YOUR HEAD.
· WRITE DOWN THREE DIFFERENT OPENING LINES AND PRACTICE THEM UNTIL ONE JUMPS OUT AS THE RIGHT ONE.