Introductions & Conclusions

Speech introductions may be said to have five purposes:

1.    Introductions get the audience’s attention.

2.    Introductions introduce the subject.

3.    Introductions also give the audience a reason to listen

4.    Introductions will establish your credibility

5.    Introductions allow you to preview your main ideas.

For effective introductions, utilize one or more of ten introduction methods (note that these methods are not mutually exclusive; one method may be two at once).

·        Illustrations, especially personal illustrations includes anecdotes), are inherently interesting to audiences to get their attention.

·        Startling facts and statistics will invariably catch audience attention as well as motivate them to listen further.

·        Quotations, especially famous quotations, allow you to express things more authoritatively, comprehensively, and memorably than perhaps you might have said.

·        Humour, handled well, is a wonderful attention getter.

·        Use audience-involving questions to open a speech – rhetorical questions (the kind you do not expect vocal answers) or questions you ask the audience out loud.

·        Referring, including references to historical events, also get an audience involved, by asking them to remember interesting, and perhaps personal happenings.

·        If your topic is timely, a reference to recent events is interesting to the audience, and

·        may increase your credibility with them.

·        Speakers are typically interesting to an audience, and personal references enhance bonding between the speaker and the audience.

·        References to the occasion may endear speaker to audience.

·        References to preceding speakers may rescue you when the preceding speaker speaks on your topic or uses your planned supporting material! (also allows speaker to “call back’  audience warmth developed by that speaker.

Effective conclusions serve one or more of four purposes.

·        Effective conclusions summarize the speech. (The Golden Rule of Public Speaking is “Tell Them What You are Going to Tell Them, Tell Them, and then Tell Them What They Have Just Been Told!”)

·        Effective conclusions re-emphasize the central idea in a memorable way.

·        Effective conclusions motivate your audience to respond.

·        Speeches need closure and an effective conclusion helps the make the speech sound finished.

Effective conclusions may employ one or more of the following four methods.

1.    Effective conclusions may reemploy methods used in introductions.

2.    Effective conclusions may tie the beginning to the end.

3.    Effective conclusions climax a speech with dramatic inspirational appeals or challenges.

4.    Finally, an effective conclusion appeals for action.