Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The introduction to a speech usually does not receive the attention it deserves. The reason is likely that we spend most of our time on the body of the speech, which is the reason we are speaking in the first place. The body gets all the attention and the introduction and conclusion get nearly nothing.

The fact is that the introduction deserves considerable attention. In fact, it deserves a plan. The listener wants to know why they should bother to spend the time and energy necessary to focus on what you’re going to say. If it can be avoided, they will wander off in their thoughts to anything more pleasant and less energy consuming. Remember, focus requires that the individual listen, interpret, sort, store and recall what is being said. That can be very tiring. If the listener is going to spend the energy what’s in it for them?

Consider the audience: what are they willing to spend their energy on? Can you tie your topic to anything that most of the audience would consider to be of importance? They will likely consider such things as social success, money, security, etc. Once you have that in mind, tie your topic to one of those interests. Now they have a reason to listen.

For example: I can enjoy watching a golf tournament on TV. I can talk about the things I have seen during the tournament and my wife will not understand or care. For her watching a golf tournament is like watching grass grow. If I hope to involve her in a conversation about golf, I need to give her a pretty good reason why it is important to her. If I fail to do that, I have failed to gain and hold her attention. That means, I can talk all day long with the best possible delivery about golf and she won’t listen and she won’t care. Without having the audience share your interest in your topic you are just flapping your gums. Tie the subject to you audience and do it with a plan.

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