Like the start of a movie at the cinema (when the lights are dimmed), there's an almost magical hush that always settles on the audience, and during that time, you've got everyone's expectant eyes on you.
Now, reading persuasive speech ideas like these, you might be tempted to listen to top executives and famous CEO's like Steve jobs, who use these exact phrases when starting their speeches and then argue that if they, who are obvious pro's, are using it, then it can't be too bad.
But don't let the logic bypass you here.... many of these speakers hold inherent authority with their audiences due to their significant achievements or respected history. Steve Jobs, for example, used to present in a pair of faded jeans and a black turtleneck, but if you did that, it would probably kill your career.
So while many of those speakers hold natural authority with the audience, chances are that you don't and that you aren't going to naturally grab everyone's attention when you waltz on stage. That means you have to start your speeches strong and utilize your prime real-estate (the first few seconds of your speech), to the max.
Persuasive Speech Ideas: Avoid the Platitudes
One of my favorite speech-portals on the net is ted.com. This super-popular and expensive conference features experts, geniuses and rich folk from all over the globe giving poignant and engaging talks in less than 20 minutes. Now I've watched dozens of these entertaining talks and never once heard a speaker start with a platitude ("Thank you so much to TED and the world for this opportunity..."
There usually is simply no requirement for these kinds of pleasantries on stage. Of course there are exceptions, and depending on the event or topic of your talk, there might be some sort of expectation for you to recognize the audience and the hosts.
So if you feel the setting requires thanking the host, conveying your gratitude and thanking mom in the audience, then do this in a short and concise 'preliminary', something that does not really constitute as part of your speech per se.
And then start strong...
The First Five Second of Your Speech
The best way to do this is to jump right into your subject matter with a bold and captivating headline and/or picture on your slides. Some of the best ways to do this:
- Start with a story that's interesting and relevant, this is bound to grab your audiences attention.
- Start with a relevant and funny joke. This is my personal favorite that I almost always use.
- Start with a bold claim or a startling fact that sets the stage (figuratively of course) for what will follow.
- Start with a stunning picture or graph and take a minute to explain the background of what the audience is seeing.
- Start with presenting an interesting prop.
- Start with a thought provoking quote.
- Start by thanking your mom and telling everyone how honored you are to be there.
Have you been paying attention? Then, which ones doesn't fit :-)
For a list of more persuasive speech ideas and public speaking tips read up on the importance of the best kind of public speaking - speaking with passion.
The first five seconds of any presentation is a unique and extremely valuable timeframe that smart public speakers have learned to utilized to their maximum benefit. This is probably the only time during your speech when you can almost be 100% certain that you have everyone's attention.