One of the main challenges that people face when they are delivering a speech for the first time is that they are unable to develop a good introduction. It is recommendable for individuals to take adequate time to research their topic and organizing their main ideas to make their work easier when writing the speech. The introduction comprises about 15% of the entire speech. If you take too much time to present your introduction, you may lose the attention of your audience.
Five Functions of a Speech Introduction
• Grabbing the attention of your listeners.
A good introduction helps the speaker to make the audience interested in listening to you as they present the other parts. Never assume that everyone will pay attention as you read your speech.
• It states the purpose of the speech.
Every member of the audience would want to understand the reasons for delivering your speech. A good introduction will ensure that your listeners do not ask themselves questions such as what you are talking about or the message that you are trying to pass. If you have a clear purpose, writing a speech will be an easy task, and the audience will still remember your speech after you are done with the presentation.
• It establishes credibility.
It is a perception of the audience. Even if you are competent in the topic of your speech, you may not get the attention of your listeners if they do not consider you credible. The introduction gives the speakers an opportunity to reveal their credibility concerning a particular subject. There are three factors that people consider when determining whether you are credible or not. The first one is competence. It is the level of knowledge and expertise that you may possess about the subject you are presenting. Explain why you are the right person to talk about the matter.
The second factor is the trustworthiness. If the audience perceives you as a liar, they will not listen to you. All the information that you will provide during your speech will be perceived as a lie. The third factor that people consider to determine your credibility is your goodwill. It is the degree with which the audience views the speaker as caring. If the receivers of your message do not believe that you care about them, they will think that you are manipulating them.
• Provides reasons for the audience to listen.
A good introduction helps to create a connection between the listeners and the speaker. Make the audience understand why they should listen to your speech. Every member of an audience would want to understand how the subject relates to them. It helps to develop a sense of goodwill among the listeners. The introduction explains how the speech may answer some of the questions and concerns that they may have.
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• It is a preview of the main ideas.
In an introduction, the speaker outlines some of the points that they will discuss in their speech. Disclosing ideas that the individual will talk about in their work shows that they are organized and ready to deliver the speech.
Types of Speeches
1. Demonstrative Speech.
In this type of presentation, the speaker aims to educate the audience about a particular subject. In most cases, speakers use a visual aid to make it easy for the audience to understand how something should be done.
2. Entertaining Speech.
One of the situations where you will find this type of informal speech is during weddings. The presentation aims to entertain the audience. Speakers achieve that objective by the use of things such as illustrations and funny stories. In most cases, they are short.
3. Informative Speech.
It focuses on presenting new facts about a particular topic to the target audience. Unlike demonstrative speech, visual aids are not used. The writer introduces new facts and statistics about a specific subject. The type of speech is common in places such as museums.
4. Persuasive Speech.
When an individual presents this type of speech, they focus on persuading the audience to believe that their opinion is right. For example, you can talk about what people should take during dinner. The speaker must provide solid facts to persuade the audience.
5. Motivational Speech.
The speaker’s purpose is to encourage listeners to embrace self-improvement in their lives. For example, a manager may give a motivational speech to the sales team to encourage them to improve the sales volumes of the firm. A teacher can also deliver a motivational speech to encourage the learners to improve their grades.
6. Debate Speech.
It usually involves two parties whose purpose is to convince the audience why their opinion is right. The speakers points out different issues to justify their argument about a particular topic. Each of the parties is given an equal amount of time to present their work.
Steps Of Writing a Speech
a) Research your topic well.
When you are presenting a persuasive or an informative speech, you need to disclose facts and statistics about the subject to convince listeners. Therefore, you must research thoroughly to ensure that you only disclose facts. Failure to do this will make the audience to perceive your work as not credible. You should only use reputable sources to gather information. Examples of such sources include books, journals, newspapers, and government reports.
b) Develop an Outline.
Organizing your ideas helps to make work easier when writing a speech. In your outline, highlight the main points that you will use. Make an outline using a suitable numbering style to make your work look presentable.
c) Choose a Hook for your Introduction.
It should be included in the first few lines of a speech. It is an essential part as it helps to grab the attention of the audience. For example, you can make a joke or a sad statement.
d) Connect your Topic to a Larger Issue.
Ensure that your audience can relate to your topic. Explain how it affects your listeners. If they consider the topic to be irrelevant, they will not listen to you.
e) Address your Points Logically.
State each of the points that you included in the sections above and provide a brief explanation. Include facts and statistics to support your statements under each of the points.
f) Introduce New Topics and Provide a Summary of your materials.
Use simple terms to help the readers to understand your points. Include a few sentences to explain your new topics and to summarize the materials you have used in your work.
g) Introduce Transitions.
It helps to ensure a good flow of your points. Some of the most common transitions include then, after, before, and next.
h) Include a Call-to-action in your Conclusion.
At this point, the audience has understood the contents of your speech. Encourage them to seek more solutions for the problem that you identified. Tell the listeners how they can make a difference.