When I was teaching public speaking at the college level, I would fail any student who opened his or her presentation with the words, “Today I am going to talk about….” That is not a memorable opener and that is not the way to begin a speech or presentation.

If those words are typical of the start of your delivery, allow me to explain why it is weak.

1. We know that it is today and not tomorrow or yesterday.
2. We know that it is you who is going to talk because you are standing there.
3. We know that you are going to talk because we are in the audience awaiting your words.
4. We probably know what you are going to talk about which is why we are in attendance.

Instead of beginning your dynamic delivery with a most ‘un-dynamic’ opening, why not start with a quote, a joke, a short story, a question, or an anecdote? If you can begin in this manner, you will immediately gain the attention of your listeners.

1. A quote makes your audience ponder.
2. A joke makes them laugh.
3. A story captivates.
4. A question requires their response.
5. An anecdote draws immediate interest.

I begin my presentations with a joke, a question, or an anecdote. When I make them laugh, they feel better; when I ask a question, they immediately are drawn into my topic; and, when I begin with an anecdote, they empathize. In all three cases, I have captured my audience and they are then excited for me to continue.

The benefits of opening in this manner, however, are just as valuable for you, the speaker. The most difficult part of any presentation is the opening which is I why I suggest memorizing it. I am not an advocate of memorization in public speaking, except for the opening. If you can say your first 3 or 4 lines from memory, you stand a better chance of a flawless beginning which is a tremendous confidence builder.

I am not concerned with an occasional mistake when delivering a speech or presentation; but, if you stumble when you are trying to gain their attention with your opening remarks, it will only increase your nervousness and possibly lead to other needless mistakes, mistakes that could have been avoided without your opening faux pas.

Begin flawlessly and you will feel more confident. Grab their attention immediately and you will be in a better position to stay in control throughout your delivery.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.

Additional Resources covering Public Speaking can be found at:

Website Directory for Public Speaking
Articles on Public Speaking
Products for Public Speaking
Discussion Board
Nancy Daniels, the Official Guide to Public Speaking