Learning to write a perfect speech opening is a crucial basic presentation skill, but also one of the tougher ones to master. Your opening has to be informative, establish a rapport with your audience, and generate interest in your content—all at the same time. Therefore, you should never leave the opening of your presentation up to chance. It is always best to plan your opening carefully in order to make the best possible impression.

State Your Mandate

Your mandate is why your audience should listen to what you have to say about this subject, at this time, to this group of individuals. To that end, you need to state two things clearly: your credibility on your chosen subject, and the purpose of your presentation. Often these things go hand-in-hand.

Your credibility on your subject matter could be as simple as “I was asked to do this presentation by my boss” or as complex as “I've worked for 30 years in this field and I know all the ins and outs.” Your credibility statement might even be “I've only been in the workforce for a year, but as a result I bring a fresh perspective to the industry.” No matter what your authority in the subject matter is, tell your audience. They will appreciate you for it.

Explaining the purpose of your presentation involves establishing why your content is relevant to your audience. Tell them why they're listening to you—why do they need this information?

Establish A Rapport

This area is where some humor and personability goes a long way. To establish a rapport with your audience, you need to get them on your side.

How do you do this? Use both your words and your body language to build a connection. You should strive to use open gestures and confident body language when you speak. This means, among other things, that you shouldn't hunch over, clench your fists, or keep your eyes glued to notecards. Make eye contact and smile with your audience. Verbally, you can call people by name, refer to a shared experience among the group, or involve some members of the group in your presentation.

Generate Interest

Sparking interest in your speech is perhaps the most elusive requirement of all to master. Both establishing a rapport, and stating your mandate factor into this, but you still need something more in order to make your speech really shine.

One way to quickly generate interest in your speech is by jumping into your content as soon as possible. To do this, you should dispense with formalities like “ladies and gentlemen” that only delay the onset of your presentation. Of course, not all speeches will be informal enough to warrant getting rid of formalities. If you must keep them in, weave them into your opening lines in between your content.

Another way to capture your audience's interest right away is to practice the first few lines of your presentation over and over again. This way, you will be completely prepared in terms of knowing your content, and can instead focus on making yourself as personable and charismatic as possible.

By using the tips above, you will vastly improve your basic presentation skills, and you will be able to gain your audience's attention and interest as soon as you start your speech.

Author's Bio: 

Norm Rebin is part of a family of professional speakers. Over the years, Norm has spoken to thousands of audiences the world over, and has been honoured with awards such as induction into CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, the International Ambassador Award, and the National Citation for Citizenship. For more speaking and success tips visit the Rebins at their official website here: http://speaktoyoursuccess.com.