Speech Writing

Introduction Speech

Barbara P

Introduction Speech - A Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

11 min read

introduction speech

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Introduction speeches are all around us. Whenever we meet a new group of people in formal settings, we have to introduce ourselves. That’s what an introduction speech is all about.

When you're facing a formal audience, your ability to deliver a compelling introductory speech can make a lot of difference. With the correct approach, you can build credibility and connections.

In this blog, we'll take you through the steps to craft an impactful introduction speech. You’ll also get examples and valuable tips to ensure you leave a lasting impression.

So, let's dive in!

Arrow Down

  • 1. What is an Introduction Speech? 
  • 2. How to Write an Introduction Speech?
  • 3. Introduction Speech Outline
  • 4. 7 Ways to Open an Introduction Speech
  • 5. Introduction Speech Example
  • 6. Introduction Speech Ideas
  • 7. Tips for Delivering the Best Introduction Speech

What is an Introduction Speech? 

An introduction speech, or introductory address, is a brief presentation at the beginning of an event or public speaking engagement. Its primary purpose is to establish a connection with the audience and to introduce yourself or the main speaker.

This type of speech is commonly used in a variety of situations, including:

  • Public Speaking: When you step onto a stage to address a large crowd, you start with an introduction to establish your presence and engage the audience.
  • Networking Events: When meeting new people in professional or social settings, an effective introduction speech can help you make a memorable first impression.
  • Formal Gatherings: From weddings to conferences, introductions set the tone for the event and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

In other words, an introduction speech is simply a way to introduce yourself to a crowd of people. 

How to Write an Introduction Speech?

Before you can just go and deliver your speech, you need to prepare for it. Writing a speech helps you organize your ideas and prepare your speech effectively. 

Here is how to introduce yourself in a speech.

  • Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience is crucial. Consider their interests, backgrounds, and expectations to tailor your introduction accordingly.

For instance, the audience members could be your colleagues, new classmates, or various guests depending on the occasion. Understanding your audience will help you decide what they are expecting from you as a speaker.

  • Start with a Hook

Begin with a captivating opening line that grabs your audience's attention. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a thought-provoking question about yourself or the occasion.

  • Introduce Yourself

Introduce yourself to the audience. State your name, occupation, or other details relevant to the occasion. You should mention the reason for your speech clearly. It will build your credibility and give the readers reasons to stay with you and read your speech.

  • Keep It Concise

So how long is an introduction speech?

Introduction speeches should be brief and to the point. Aim for around 1-2 minutes in most cases. Avoid overloading the introduction with excessive details.

  • Highlight Key Points

Mention the most important information that establishes the speaker's credibility or your own qualifications. Write down any relevant achievements, expertise, or credentials to include in your speech. Encourage the audience to connect with you using relatable anecdotes or common interests.

  • Rehearse and Edit

Practice your introduction speech to ensure it flows smoothly and stays within the time frame. Edit out any unnecessary information, ensuring it's concise and impactful.

  • Tailor for the Occasion

Adjust the tone and content of your introduction speech to match the formality and purpose of the event. What works for a business conference may not be suitable for a casual gathering.

Introduction Speech Outline

To assist you in creating a structured and effective introduction speech, here's a simple outline that you can follow:

Here is an example outline for a self-introduction speech.

Outline for Self-Introduction Speech

7 Ways to Open an Introduction Speech

You can start your introduction speech as most people do:

“Hello everyone, my name is _____. I will talk about _____. Thank you so much for having me. So first of all _______”

However, this is the fastest way to make your audience lose interest. Instead, you should start by captivating your audience’s interest. Here are 7 ways to do that:

  • Quote  

Start with a thought-provoking quote that relates to your topic or the occasion. E.g. "Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'You must be the change you want to see in the world."

  • Anecdote or Story

Begin with a brief, relevant anecdote or story that draws the audience in. It could be a story about yourself or any catchy anecdote to begin the flow of your speech.

Pose a rhetorical question to engage the audience's curiosity and involvement. For example, "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back in time, to experience a moment in history?”

  • Statistic or Fact

Share a surprising statistic or interesting fact that underscores the significance of your speech. E.g. “Did you know that as of today, over 60% of the world's population has access to the internet?”

  • “What If” Scenario

Paint a vivid "What if" scenario that relates to your topic, sparking the audience's imagination and curiosity. For example, "What if I told you that a single decision today could change the course of your life forever?"

  • Ignite Imagination  

Encourage the audience to envision a scenario related to your topic. For instance, "Imagine a world where clean energy powers everything around us, reducing our carbon footprint to almost zero."

Start your introduction speech with a moment of silence, allowing the audience to focus and anticipate your message. This can be especially powerful in creating a sense of suspense and intrigue.

Introduction Speech Example

To help you understand how to put these ideas into practice, here are the introduction speech examples for different scenarios.

Introduction Speech Writing Sample

Short Introduction Speech Sample

Self Introduction Speech for College Students

Introduction Speech about Yourself

Student Presentation Introduction Speech Script

Teacher Introduction Speech

New Employee Self Introduction Speech

Introduction Speech for Chief Guest

Moreover, here is a video example of a self introduction. Watch it to understand how you should deliver your speech:

Want to read examples for other kinds of speeches? Find the best speeches at our blog about speech examples !

Introduction Speech Ideas

So now that you’ve understood what an introduction speech is, you may want to write one of your own. So what should you talk about?

The following are some ideas to start an introduction speech for a presentation, meeting, or social gathering in an engaging way. 

  • Personal Story: Share a brief personal story or an experience that has shaped you, introducing yourself on a deeper level.
  • Professional Background: Introduce yourself by highlighting your professional background, including your career achievements and expertise.
  • Hobby or Passion: Discuss a hobby or passion that you're enthusiastic about, offering insights into your interests and what drives you.
  • Volunteer Work: Introduce yourself by discussing your involvement in volunteer work or community service, demonstrating your commitment to making a difference.
  • Travel Adventures: Share anecdotes from your travel adventures, giving the audience a glimpse into your love for exploring new places and cultures.
  • Books or Literature: Provide an introduction related to a favorite book, author, or literary work, revealing your literary interests.
  • Achievements and Milestones: Highlight significant achievements and milestones in your life or career to introduce yourself with an impressive track record.
  • Cultural Heritage: Explore your cultural heritage and its influence on your identity, fostering a sense of cultural understanding.
  • Social or Environmental Cause: Discuss your dedication to a particular social or environmental cause, inviting the audience to join you in your mission.
  • Future Aspirations: Share your future goals and aspirations, offering a glimpse into what you hope to achieve in your personal or professional life.

You can deliver engaging speeches on all kinds of topics. Here is a list of entertaining speech topics to get inspiration.

Tips for Delivering the Best Introduction Speech

Here are some tips for you to write a perfect introduction speech in no time. 

Now that you know how to write an effective introduction speech, let's focus on the delivery. The way you present your introduction is just as important as the content itself. 

Here are some valuable tips to ensure you deliver a better introduction speech:

  • Maintain Eye Contact 

Make eye contact with the audience to establish a connection. This shows confidence and engages your listeners.

  • Use Appropriate Body Language 

Your body language should convey confidence and warmth. Stand or sit up straight, use open gestures, and avoid fidgeting.

  • Mind Your Pace

Speak at a moderate pace, avoiding rapid speech. A well-paced speech is easier to follow and more engaging.

  • Avoid Filler Words

Minimize the use of filler words such as "um," "uh," and "like." They can be distracting and detract from your message.

  • Be Enthusiastic

Convey enthusiasm about the topic or the speaker. Your energy can be contagious and inspire the audience's interest.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice

Rehearse your speech multiple times. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or seek feedback from others.

  • Be Mindful of Time

Stay within the allocated time for your introduction. Going too long can make your speech too boring for the audience.

  • Engage the Audience

Encourage the audience's participation. You could do that by asking rhetorical questions, involving them in a brief activity, or sharing relatable anecdotes.

Mistakes to Avoid in an Introduction Speech

While crafting and delivering an introduction speech, it's important to be aware of common pitfalls that can diminish its effectiveness. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a more engaging and memorable introduction. 

Here are some key mistakes to steer clear of:

  • Rambling On

One of the most common mistakes is making the introduction too long. Keep it concise and to the point. The purpose is to set the stage, not steal the spotlight.

  • Lack of Preparation

Failing to prepare adequately can lead to stumbling, awkward pauses, or losing your train of thought. Rehearse your introduction to build confidence.

  • Using Jargon or Complex Language

Avoid using technical jargon or complex language that may confuse the audience. Your introduction should be easily understood by everyone.

  • Being Too Generic

A generic or uninspiring introduction can set a lackluster tone. Ensure your introduction is tailored to the event and speaker, making it more engaging.

  • Using Inappropriate Humor

Be cautious with humor, as it can easily backfire. Avoid inappropriate or potentially offensive jokes that could alienate the audience.

  • Not Tailoring to the Occasion

An introduction should be tailored to the specific event's formality and purpose. A one-size-fits-all approach may not work in all situations.

To Conclude,

An introduction speech is more than just a formality. It's an opportunity to engage, inspire, and connect with your audience in a meaningful way. 

With the help of this blog, you're well-equipped to shine in various contexts. So, step onto that stage, speak confidently, and captivate your audience from the very first word.

Moreover, you’re not alone in your journey to becoming a confident introducer. If you ever need assistance in preparing your speech, let the experts help you out.

MyPerfectWords.com offers a reputable essay writing service with experienced professionals who can craft tailored introductions, ensuring your speech makes a lasting impact.

Don't hesitate; hire our professional speech writing service to deliver top-quality speeches at your deadline!

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Barbara P

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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speech writing

Speech introductions

The introduction and conclusion of a speech are essential. The audience will remember the main ideas even if the middle of the speech is a mess or nerves overtake the speaker.  So if nothing else, get these parts down!


The introduction gives the audience a reason to listen to the remainder of the speech. A good introduction needs to get the audience’s attention, state the topic, make the topic relatable, establish credibility, and preview the main points. Introductions should be the last part of the speech written, as they set expectations and need to match the content.

Attention getters

The first few sentences of a speech are designed to catch and maintain the audience’s attention. Attention getters give the audience a reason to listen to the rest of the speech. Your attention getter helps the audience understand and reflect on your topic.

  • Speaker walks up to stage with notes stuck to hands with jelly.
  • Did you know there is a right way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
  • Rob Gronkowski once said, “Usually, about 2 hours before a game, I stuff in a nice peanut butter and jelly [sandwich] with chocolate milk.”
  • A little boy walks in from a long day at school, telling his mom that he is starving. His mom is confused because she knows she sent him to school with a full lunch. As she opens his lunch box, she sees his peanut butter and jelly, with the grape jelly smeared on the side of the bag. She realizes there has to be a better way to make a PB&J.
  • Bring in a clear sandwich bag with jelly seeping through the bread of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Logical orientation

Once the audience is invested in the speech, logical orientation tells the audience how the speaker will approach and develop the topic.

  • Peanut butter on both sides of the bread with jelly in the middle is the best way to make a PB&J.
  • PB&Js have developed a bad reputation, because of the jelly making the bread soggy and hands sticky.

Psychological orientation

Like the logical orientation of a speech, the psychological orientation is also going to provide the audience with a map for how and why the topic is being presented.

  • Most of us remember our moms – dads too – packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in our lunches. We also remember how the jelly did not just stay in the sandwich, but became a new stain on our shirts and the glue that held all the playground dirt to our hands.
  • We can end this torture for future generations by making sure all parents are aware of the best way to make a PB&J.
  • I have eaten numerous PB&Js myself, but my real authority on the topic comes from being a mom of two boys and the maker of many PB&Js.

Both the logical and psychological orientations give the audience a road map for the speech ahead as well as cues for what to listen to. This will help the audience transition from the introduction to the main points of the speech.

Beebe, S. A., & Beebe, S. J. (2012). A concise public speaking handbook . Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Lucas, S. (2012). The art of public speaking . New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Sprague, J. & Stuart, D. (2013). The speaker's compact handbook, 4th ed . Portland: Ringgold, Inc.

Vrooman, S. S. (2013). The zombie guide to public speaking: Why most presentations fail, and what you can do to avoid joining the horde . Place of publication not identified: CreateSpace.

Frantically Speaking

15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines (And How to Create Your Own)

Hrideep barot.

  • Public Speaking , Speech Writing

powerful speech opening

Powerful speech opening lines set the tone and mood of your speech. It’s what grips the audience to want to know more about the rest of your talk.

The first few seconds are critical. It’s when you have maximum attention of the audience. And you must capitalize on that!

Instead of starting off with something plain and obvious such as a ‘Thank you’ or ‘Good Morning’, there’s so much more you can do for a powerful speech opening (here’s a great article we wrote a while ago on how you should NOT start your speech ).

To help you with this, I’ve compiled some of my favourite openings from various speakers. These speakers have gone on to deliver TED talks , win international Toastmaster competitions or are just noteworthy people who have mastered the art of communication.

After each speaker’s opening line, I have added how you can include their style of opening into your own speech. Understanding how these great speakers do it will certainly give you an idea to create your own speech opening line which will grip the audience from the outset!

Alright! Let’s dive into the 15 powerful speech openings…

Note: Want to take your communications skills to the next level? Book a complimentary consultation with one of our expert communication coaches. We’ll look under the hood of your hurdles and pick two to three growth opportunities so you can speak with impact!

1. Ric Elias

Opening: “Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D.”

How to use the power of imagination to open your speech?

Putting your audience in a state of imagination can work extremely well to captivate them for the remainder of your talk.

It really helps to bring your audience in a certain mood that preps them for what’s about to come next. Speakers have used this with high effectiveness by transporting their audience into an imaginary land to help prove their point.

When Ric Elias opened his speech, the detail he used (3000 ft, sound of the engine going clack-clack-clack) made me feel that I too was in the plane. He was trying to make the audience experience what he was feeling – and, at least in my opinion, he did.

When using the imagination opening for speeches, the key is – detail. While we want the audience to wander into imagination, we want them to wander off to the image that we want to create for them. So, detail out your scenario if you’re going to use this technique.

Make your audience feel like they too are in the same circumstance as you were when you were in that particular situation.

2. Barack Obama

Opening: “You can’t say it, but you know it’s true.”

3. Seth MacFarlane

Opening: “There’s nowhere I would rather be on a day like this than around all this electoral equipment.” (It was raining)

How to use humour to open your speech?

When you use humour in a manner that suits your personality, it can set you up for a great speech. Why? Because getting a laugh in the first 30 seconds or so is a great way to quickly get the audience to like you.

And when they like you, they are much more likely to listen to and believe in your ideas.

Obama effortlessly uses his opening line to entice laughter among the audience. He brilliantly used the setting (the context of Trump becoming President) and said a line that completely matched his style of speaking.

Saying a joke without really saying a joke and getting people to laugh requires you to be completely comfortable in your own skin. And that’s not easy for many people (me being one of them).

If the joke doesn’t land as expected, it could lead to a rocky start.

Keep in mind the following when attempting to deliver a funny introduction:

  • Know your audience: Make sure your audience gets the context of the joke (if it’s an inside joke among the members you’re speaking to, that’s even better!). You can read this article we wrote where we give you tips on how you can actually get to know your audience better to ensure maximum impact with your speech openings
  • The joke should suit your natural personality. Don’t make it look forced or it won’t elicit the desired response
  • Test the opening out on a few people who match your real audience. Analyze their response and tweak the joke accordingly if necessary
  • Starting your speech with humour means your setting the tone of your speech. It would make sense to have a few more jokes sprinkled around the rest of the speech as well as the audience might be expecting the same from you

4. Mohammed Qahtani

Opening: Puts a cigarette on his lips, lights a lighter, stops just before lighting the cigarette. Looks at audience, “What?”

5. Darren Tay

Opening: Puts a white pair of briefs over his pants.

How to use props to begin your speech?

The reason props work so well in a talk is because in most cases the audience is not expecting anything more than just talking. So when a speaker pulls out an object that is unusual, everyone’s attention goes right to it.

It makes you wonder why that prop is being used in this particular speech.

The key word here is unusual . To grip the audience’s attention at the beginning of the speech, the prop being used should be something that the audience would never expect. Otherwise, it just becomes something that is common. And common = boring!

What Mohammed Qahtani and Darren Tay did superbly well in their talks was that they used props that nobody expected them to.

By pulling out a cigarette and lighter or a white pair of underwear, the audience can’t help but be gripped by what the speaker is about to do next. And that makes for a powerful speech opening.

6. Simon Sinek

Opening: “How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions?”

7. Julian Treasure

Opening: “The human voice. It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world. Probably the only one that can start a war or say “I love you.” And yet many people have the experience that when they speak people don’t listen to them. Why is that? How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?”

How to use questions to open a speech?

I use this method often. Starting off with a question is the simplest way to start your speech in a manner that immediately engages the audience.

But we should keep our questions compelling as opposed to something that is fairly obvious.

I’ve heard many speakers start their speeches with questions like “How many of us want to be successful?”

No one is going to say ‘no’ to that and frankly, I just feel silly raising my hand at such questions.

Simon Sinek and Jullian Treasure used questions in a manner that really made the audience think and make them curious to find out what the answer to that question is.

What Jullian Treasure did even better was the use of a few statements which built up to his question. This made the question even more compelling and set the theme for what the rest of his talk would be about.

So think of what question you can ask in your speech that will:

  • Set the theme for the remainder of your speech
  • Not be something that is fairly obvious
  • Be compelling enough so that the audience will actually want to know what the answer to that question will be

8. Aaron Beverley

Opening: Long pause (after an absurdly long introduction of a 57-word speech title). “Be honest. You enjoyed that, didn’t you?”

How to use silence for speech openings?

The reason this speech opening stands out is because of the fact that the title itself is 57 words long. The audience was already hilariously intrigued by what was going to come next.

But what’s so gripping here is the way Aaron holds the crowd’s suspense by…doing nothing. For about 10 to 12 seconds he did nothing but stand and look at the audience. Everyone quietened down. He then broke this silence by a humorous remark that brought the audience laughing down again.

When going on to open your speech, besides focusing on building a killer opening sentence, how about just being silent?

It’s important to keep in mind that the point of having a strong opening is so that the audience’s attention is all on you and are intrigued enough to want to listen to the rest of your speech.

Silence is a great way to do that. When you get on the stage, just pause for a few seconds (about 3 to 5 seconds) and just look at the crowd. Let the audience and yourself settle in to the fact that the spotlight is now on you.

I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about starting the speech off with a pure pause that just makes the beginning so much more powerful. It adds credibility to you as a speaker as well, making you look more comfortable and confident on stage. 

If you want to know more about the power of pausing in public speaking , check out this post we wrote. It will give you a deeper insight into the importance of pausing and how you can harness it for your own speeches. You can also check out this video to know more about Pausing for Public Speaking:

9. Dan Pink

Opening: “I need to make a confession at the outset here. Little over 20 years ago, I did something that I regret. Something that I’m not particularly proud of. Something that in many ways I wish no one would ever know but that here I feel kind of obliged to reveal.”

10. Kelly McGonigal

Opening: “I have a confession to make. But first I want you to make a little confession to me.”

How to use a build-up to open your speech?

When there are so many amazing ways to start a speech and grip an audience from the outset, why would you ever choose to begin your speech with a ‘Good morning?’.

That’s what I love about build-ups. They set the mood for something awesome that’s about to come in that the audience will feel like they just have to know about.

Instead of starting a speech as it is, see if you can add some build-up to your beginning itself. For instance, in Kelly McGonigal’s speech, she could have started off with the question of stress itself (which she eventually moves on to in her speech). It’s not a bad way to start the speech.

But by adding the statement of “I have a confession to make” and then not revealing the confession for a little bit, the audience is gripped to know what she’s about to do next and find out what indeed is her confession.

11. Tim Urban

Opening: “So in college, I was a government major. Which means that I had to write a lot of papers. Now when a normal student writes a paper, they might spread the work out a little like this.”

12. Scott Dinsmore

Opening: “8 years ago, I got the worst career advice of my life.”

How to use storytelling as a speech opening?

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” Steve Jobs

Storytelling is the foundation of good speeches. Starting your speech with a story is a great way to grip the audience’s attention. It makes them yearn to want to know how the rest of the story is going to pan out.

Tim Urban starts off his speech with a story dating back to his college days. His use of slides is masterful and something we all can learn from. But while his story sounds simple, it does the job of intriguing the audience to want to know more.

As soon as I heard the opening lines, I thought to myself “If normal students write their paper in a certain manner, how does Tim write his papers?”

Combine such a simple yet intriguing opening with comedic slides, and you’ve got yourself a pretty gripping speech.

Scott Dismore’s statement has a similar impact. However, just a side note, Scott Dismore actually started his speech with “Wow, what an honour.”

I would advise to not start your talk with something such as that. It’s way too common and does not do the job an opening must, which is to grip your audience and set the tone for what’s coming.

13. Larry Smith

Opening: “I want to discuss with you this afternoon why you’re going to fail to have a great career.”

14. Jane McGonigal

Opening: “You will live 7.5 minutes longer than you would have otherwise, just because you watched this talk.”

How to use provocative statements to start your speech?

Making a provocative statement creates a keen desire among the audience to want to know more about what you have to say. It immediately brings everyone into attention.

Larry Smith did just that by making his opening statement surprising, lightly humorous, and above all – fearful. These elements lead to an opening statement which creates so much curiosity among the audience that they need to know how your speech pans out.

This one time, I remember seeing a speaker start a speech with, “Last week, my best friend committed suicide.” The entire crowd was gripped. Everyone could feel the tension in the room.

They were just waiting for the speaker to continue to know where this speech will go.

That’s what a hard-hitting statement does, it intrigues your audience so much that they can’t wait to hear more! Just a tip, if you do start off with a provocative, hard-hitting statement, make sure you pause for a moment after saying it.

Silence after an impactful statement will allow your message to really sink in with the audience.

Related article: 5 Ways to Grab Your Audience’s Attention When You’re Losing it!

15. Ramona J Smith

Opening: In a boxing stance, “Life would sometimes feel like a fight. The punches, jabs and hooks will come in the form of challenges, obstacles and failures. Yet if you stay in the ring and learn from those past fights, at the end of each round, you’ll be still standing.”

How to use your full body to grip the audience at the beginning of your speech?

In a talk, the audience is expecting you to do just that – talk. But when you enter the stage and start putting your full body into use in a way that the audience does not expect, it grabs their attention.

Body language is critical when it comes to public speaking. Hand gestures, stage movement, facial expressions are all things that need to be paid attention to while you’re speaking on stage. But that’s not I’m talking about here.

Here, I’m referring to a unique use of the body that grips the audience, like how Ramona did. By using her body to get into a boxing stance, imitating punches, jabs and hooks with her arms while talking – that’s what got the audience’s attention.

The reason I say this is so powerful is because if you take Ramona’s speech and remove the body usage from her opening, the entire magic of the opening falls flat.

While the content is definitely strong, without those movements, she would not have captured the audience’s attention as beautifully as she did with the use of her body.

So if you have a speech opening that seems slightly dull, see if you can add some body movement to it.

If your speech starts with a story of someone running, actually act out the running. If your speech starts with a story of someone reading, actually act out the reading.

It will make your speech opening that much more impactful.

Related article: 5 Body Language Tips to Command the Stage

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Final Words

So there it is! 15 speech openings from some of my favourite speeches. Hopefully, these will act as a guide for you to create your own opening which is super impactful and sets you off on the path to becoming a powerful public speaker!

But remember, while a speech opening is super important, it’s just part of an overall structure.

If you’re serious about not just creating a great speech opening but to improve your public speaking at an overall level, I would highly recommend you to check out this course: Acumen Presents: Chris Anderson on Public Speaking on Udemy. Not only does it have specific lectures on starting and ending a speech, but it also offers an in-depth guide into all the nuances of public speaking. 

Being the founder of TED Talks, Chris Anderson provides numerous examples of the best TED speakers to give us a very practical way of overcoming stage fear and delivering a speech that people will remember. His course has helped me personally and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to learn public speaking. 

No one is ever “done” learning public speaking. It’s a continuous process and you can always get better. Keep learning, keep conquering and keep being awesome!

Lastly, if you want to know how you should NOT open your speech, we’ve got a video for you:

Hrideep Barot

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7 ways for opening a speech! The ideal speech introduction to grab your audience’s attention


Maybe you know this: you may or must give a speech, but how do you start? Whether you’re giving a speech as an employer or to your colleagues, or you’re an external keynote speaker, the principles are always the same. Likewise, your preparation is not much different: whether it’s a keynote at a kick-off event , the festive speech at the company Christmas party , a motivational speech at a team event or even a laudatory speech at an awards ceremony – the search for the right begining should not be left to chance.

How do you get your audience’s attention so that they want to listen and can follow you easily? How do you sound interesting? In this article you will get the necessary tips for your ideal start for your next speech to inspire your audience. I have collected these speech introductions and examples in my work in the field of public speaking as a presenter and keynote speaker in front of over 5 million people.

Why is the beginning, i.e. the first few minutes of a presentation, so important? This is where the first impression is being made. Your audience intuitively decides within a few seconds whether they like the speaker and want to follow. After that, you still have up to three minutes to pick up your audience with the content of your speech.


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The first impression is crucial for further success

There’s a saying that goes, “ There’s no second chance for a first impression. ” It takes between 100 milliseconds and 7 seconds for your audience to get the same impression of you. If you as a speaker fail to make that first impression, no matter how impressive your speech, it will be very difficult to pick up your audience. 

US comedian Jerry Seinfeld , one of the most famous American comedians of the 90s, said that his fame only gives him a starting bonus for the first three minutes – at the latest then he has to deliver. If you don’t enjoy the celebrity bonus in your speeches, that means you have to deliver right from the get go to win over your audience.

Requirements for the ideal introduction for your speech

Before you can wow people as a speaker and give any thought to content, you need to set the stage. If you want to give a good speech and move your audience from A to B, two things are essential: you need to know where you want to go and where your audience is coming from .

Know the outcome of your speech

If you don’t know in which direction you want to move your audience, then no amount of tips will get you there. So before you tinker with the ideal introduction, you need to be clear about what your outcome is .

Know the outcome of your speech

 What feeling do you want the audience to have when you leave the stage? What impression do you want to convey as a speaker? Even more public speaking tips you can find here.

Know your audience members

If you want to catch a fish, you have to use a bait that tastes good to the fish, not to the fisherman . The same applies to presentations: who decides what is a top speech? That is, of course, in the eye of your audience. Therefore, it is all the more important to know who the people are, listening to your speech. 

Know your audience members

An American proverb says that your audience doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Your audience won’t pay attention to you until they see that your speech is relevant to them. As a speaker, do you bring examples and tips and answer questions in your main points that matter to the audience? Do your main ideas strike a cord?

Tip: Try to find out as much as possible to know in advance what moves your audience and why people are here today. If you have the opportunity, use the time for successful networking and listen to their needs.

The goal of an ideal introduction to your speech

Only after you know your outcome and your audience you can focus on how to start your presentation, because now you know as a speaker in which direction your ship should sail. If you want to give a speech, you need to get your audience interested in you and your main points. For this to happen, you need the attention of your audience.

Speaker Tip: First create attention , then develop interest in your message and your main points to make it worth listening for your audience.

Giving a speech: seven perfect speech introductions

Now let’s look at tips and examples of how you as a speaker can inspire your audience. These tips should give you a guideline from where you can successfully transition from your chosen introduction to the main part and final part of your speech.

1. He who asks, leads – starting with a question

An elegant way to begin a speech is with a question . The goal is to engage your listener directly in your opening and generate interest. In order for the question to be effective, it must be tailored to your target audience. The question may be provocative, surprising or even make you smile, but it must be relevant.

starting with a question

For example, if you’re speaking to a group of retirees, a question like “Which one of you went to a disco last weekend?” would be just as out of place as asking a group of Wall street brokers “Which one of you has been involved in stocks?”. Your audience needs to feel like you know who you’re dealing with.

“Who remembers what they did last Saturday night?” was an opening I chose many years ago when giving a speech. Of course, after that, there was a story about my Saturday night that fit right in with the theme of my speech. People were immediately involved and everyone was thinking. Because just about everybody did something last Saturday and so it was relevant… even if many didn’t even remember it. 

With questions that fit the topics, you are sure to get the attention of the participants. However, always pay attention to what you trigger in your audience with a question and, if requested, also provide the appropriate answer.

Another speaking tip: When you ask a question, give your audience time to respond . Whether out loud, with a show of hands, or silently, people need time for what you say to have an impact. Of course, questions can also be used during your speech.

2. Start your speech with a quote

Using the words of another person in your speech is a proven way. The art of building a good speech is to pick up your audience where they are. A pointed quote that gets to the heart of your ideas or the occasion is the basic premise for choosing someone else’s statement as your lead-in. If people are familiar with the name of the person you are quoting, it gives you added credibility as a speaker.

Very similar to a quote is using a proverb to start your speech. Again, there is often a deeper wisdom behind it. Link this to the idea of your speech and you have a great introduction.

Again, I’ll give you an example from my own experience when I was asked to give a presentation on the topic of corporate mission statements many years ago. I decided to start with a quote, but the number of quotes on this topic are manageable. However, the corporate mission statement compares very well with the soul for people, and so on this occasion I found a quote on the subject of the soul and then drew the analogy with the corporate mission statement. “Outside the box” solutions are also the speaker’s friend. 

3. Inspire your audience with storytelling

A particularly powerful way to start is to share a story or personal real life experience with your audience at the beginning of your presentation. With a personal story, you create compelling moments and build an emotional connection with your audience. However, this is also where the biggest danger lies: your story must absolutely correspond to the facts and at the same time should have a connection to the topic of the event. The audience has a good nose for it, if you serve them a “suitably made” story.


Of course, storytelling is not limited to stories you have experienced yourself. You can also draw on a current or even historical event. Important, as mentioned above, is the connection to the goal of your presentation. Also, make sure that you start right in the relevant event and do not begin with Adam and Eve. Especially extroverted people like to get into narration and then it can happen that you lose the drive to your actual presentation and your audience is no longer on the point.

One of my stage coaching clients, for example, took his audience into a situation right at the beginning of his speech when he was at the start of his first triathlon. He immediately built up a tension, because he put his audience directly into it instead of talking about preparation and planning for the triathlon. Because he also found the right tone, the speech went down great. Bonus tip for your speech: Stories absolutely need to be rehearsed and tailored to your audience and the occasion. This does not mean, as already mentioned, that you add things, but that you leave out unnecessary things. Don’t just tell from memory, but really practice.

4. Start with an open loop

Starting with an open loop is something like the supreme discipline. Here, you start with a story, but don’t finish telling it until the end of your speech . This type of introduction is certainly a bit unusual and, in my opinion, more suitable for experienced speakers, especially to keep the tension high.

You start with the open loop in the same way as with storytelling and take your audience along until the point where the tension is at its highest. Instead of the resolution, you lead into the topic of your speech and then come to the main part, where the content is presented with further examples. Only at the end do you pick up the ball of your introductory story again and close the open loop.

As an example, I start one of my keynote speeches with such an open loop: I take the audience on my experience at the New York City Marathon. Since my preparation for it was far from ideal due to injuries, I wasn’t sure until the start how far I would run that day. My speech started with the thoughts going through my head at the start, with my uncertainty but also anticipation. The start of the marathon was then the Open Loop, which I only resolved at the end of the speech.

5. Enchant the audience with parables

A parable is a very short to short story which might not even have a plot of its own. While a parable can be told with action, as if something has actually taken place, it can also be about something hypothetical: “Imagine…” or “Suppose…”. In both cases, the point is that we want to make a connection to the content. 

The purpose of parables is to pick up the audience as they enter your presentation and provide an emotional experience that immediately introduces them to the topic through your words.

6. Facts, figures and statistics as an introduction for the speech

The FFS introduction is particularly useful if you have facts, figures or statistics that are not familiar to your audience and are also unusual. In addition, it must of course fit your topic and possibly support your thesis. A personalized statistic works best to meet your audience’s needs.

Figures Data Facts

When we were designing the outline for one of my Executive Legacy Coaching clients’ investor pitch, we made a conscious decision to start with a number that would probably come as a surprise to many listeners. To back up the pain point that his product solves, he asked the panel how much they thought that an unhappy employee costs a company per year. Starting with that number was so effective because the audience’s estimates were all substantially lower than the true number, creating an a-ha effect.

7. Looking back

Another way to start your speech is with a look back . This variant is particularly suitable if you are to give a speech on the occasion of an anniversary or birthday. In your preparation, you should pay special attention to who is sitting in your audience: what connection do they have to the person or the company or the occasion and, above all, have they experienced the period themselves.

Some time ago, I had the privilege of being on stage at a company’s 20th anniversary. In order to give the audience as emotional an experience as possible, I first had to find out who was in the audience. Have people lived through these last 20 years, and are they likely to remember the moment from 20 years ago? Since my audience was mostly over 35 years old I assumed that was the case. Thus I dove into the world of 20 years ago: how did the world look and what moved people at the time? Immediately the people were in the emotions of the memories and from that I could then draw a bow to the company anniversary: “much has changed, but one thing has remained the same…”.

Giving a speech: here’s what you should avoid when getting started

Jokes are for comedians.

There are talented joke tellers and there are those who always flub the punch line. If you feel uncomfortable in the role of the joker, don’t do it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t spice up the introduction with a little humor. Humor arouses positive emotions and loosens the atmosphere. A humorous introduction, which also works without a joke, signals to the participants that the event will not be dry as dust and that it is worth staying for.

Bonus tip: Humor is different in different regions and works best when you approach your audience with respect and humility.

Stay away from provocative introductions

A provocative introduction is like riding on a razor blade: very dangerous. You have to have an incredible ace up your sleeve to win your audience back. As a rule, I would strongly advise you not to use provocative introductions. If your audience perceives you as an unsympathetic person, no matter how ingenious the content of your speech, it will not bring the desired success.

Start with an apology

Some insecure speaker starts his speech with an apology for his insecurity or God knows what else. Please don’t do that. For one thing, the audience usually doesn’t notice it anyway, and for another, it immediately takes something away from your first impression. You might get sympathy for it, but in the rarest cases you will get the attention for your speech.

Mit der Entschuldigung beginnen

One of the most important tips I once received was that your audience wants you to win . That’s right, you read that correctly. Your audience wants you to be good. No one sits in the audience hoping for a boring speaker to come on now. Your audience wants you to do your job well. If you feel anxiety on the way to the stage, keep reading.

The way to the stage and the first seconds

The key to a perfect introduction lies not only in the preparation for your speech, but also in the emotional preparation in the moments before public speaking. Especially if you are nervous or even feel speech anxiety , it is even more important that you, to present convincingly, are in an ideal state.

Take a deep breath just before your performance, send positive emotions to your audience and off you go. Many speakers also like to take index cards with their notes to be prepared in case of an emergency. The phrase for the introduction as well as for the conclusion I would always write in full. For the main points, keywords are enough here.

When you finally arrive on stage, at first be aware of your audience . Before you begin, start with eye contact and confident body language to radiate stage presence . Only then, when you feel the attention of your audience, you start to talk. This confidence will automatically boost your credibility.

Bonus tip: if you’re unsure about your voice, a little voice training will help.

The ideal start for your virtual speech

Of course, the principles for your ideal start also apply at virtual events. So if you hold a webinar or a virtual presentation or are on stage at a hybrid event , nothing will change in the structure of your preparation. The main point in the virtual space is that you have to speak in front of the camera and this should be practiced. The specific elements of structuring your presentation stay the same.

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Feeling ready for your next speech?

In this article you have learned how to start your speech in an ideal way. Do you already have an idea which structure you like best? Remember that you always start with your outcome and your audience before you create a thread for your presentation.

Bereit für die nächste Rede

The tone makes the music. Former American writer Maya Angelou summed it up this way: “Your audience won’t remember exactly what you said, but they’ll always remember how it made them feel.” Whatever the occasion, take your audience on an emotional journey.

If you feel that you still need help for your next speech or keynote , feel free to contact me  or just write me an e-mail ! Together many things are easier.

Which introduction appeals to you the most? Which start to a speech have you learned about here and would like to try out for your next performance? Please leave a comment below and share this article with someone who you think will profit from it. All the best for your next speeches.

There is no second chance for a first impression . The first impression is created in the first few seconds of perception and is crucial to whether your audience perceives you as likeable or unlikeable. If you mess up the first impression, the next few minutes will be a steep uphill climb to get the audience back on your side.

First, take three deep breaths and consciously put a smile on your face. Stand up straight, shoulders back, head up and visualize your audience and your goal. The important thing here is to move as quickly as possible from an internal focus (thinking about you) to an external focus (thinking about your audience). Imagine how your audience will benefit from your speech. For even more tips, I recommend you read my blog post Persuasive presentations: 3 Steps to Your Ideal State in Front of an Audience.

Ideally, you were introduced by a presenter who has also given some interesting background information about you to the audience. However, it always makes sense to leave nothing to chance here and, on the one hand, to discuss your introduction with the presenter upfront and, on the other hand, to include the most important points in your speech. I would always start with an introduction into the topic to get the audience interested and then introduce myself. The best way to find the right introduction is to read this article.

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Your Speech's Introduction: How to Make It Powerful

Your Speech's Introduction: How to Make It Powerful

There's a moment of high drama when you give a speech or presentation—and it occurs before you've even said a word. It's the first few seconds when the "curtain" goes up.

In other words, it's all about anticipation. Your audience at that instant is paying maximum attention . . . they're primed for whatever they're about to experience. Often, these audience members will have no idea of your speaking ability. Oh, they may know they're interested in the topic. But they are almost surely filled with hope that the next half-hour or hour will be interesting and exciting.

Great speakers understand how to engage and move audiences at moments like this. You should too! Learn how in my Free Guide , "Six Rules of Effective Public Speaking."

What happens in the next 60 seconds will help determine whether your speech is successful or not. So here are four key elements you should always  include in your speech's introduction. If you want listeners to pay attention, become intrigued, and tell themselves they're in good company, do these four things, in the following order:

How to get an audience to pay attention in public speaking.

1) Grab 'Em from the Moment You Begin Speaking

Consider how most presenters begin. Nearly always, it's along the lines of, "Good afternoon. It's so nice to see you all. Today I'll be talking about  . ." followed by a slide with the word "Agenda" and 5 bullet points. If we can't hear you screaming as an audience member, it's probably only because you're too polite to be doing it in public. 

These first few seconds are such valuable real estate, it's shocking that speakers don't spend any time working up an inviting treatment. In fact, it's not overstating things to say that if you want to succeed as a speaker, you have to know how to start a speech . There are rhetorical devices ready and waiting for you to use to kick off in a much more interesting way. Here for instance are 12 foolproof ways to open a speech . 

It's not good enough to take three or four minutes to settle into your groove. Remember that moment of drama, and how everyone is anticipating what you're about to reveal. You need to burn rubber as soon as your tires hit the road, not spin them unnecessarily in the gravel. It's infinitely easier to keep  an audience with you if you engage them from the start.

This is the time your natural talent is on display! To build credibility and earn trust, download my  Free e-book , "12 Easy Ways to Achieve Presence and Charisma." 

How to write an introduction in a speech or presentation.

2) Reveal Your Topic (and Make It Sound Interesting)

At this point, without going any further into your speech, reveal your topic.

You may be thinking, "Well, yeah, of course!" Yet haven't you sat through speeches where, five minutes in, you're saying to yourself, "What's the  topic  here, anyway?" It one of the ways we as speakers may take things for granted, believing that the subject matter is perfectly obvious. (The phrase 'perfectly obvious' should not be part of your public speaking thought process!)

Even if the topic of your speech is emblazoned on posters and flyers beforehand, you lose nothing by reminding the audience about it in your intro. Besides, this is an opportunity to make it sound interesting.  You could say, "My topic today is migrating birds of the Northeast." OR you could offer this instead: "Today, you'll be meeting some of the most eccentric characters you could ever run into . . . who just happen to be sitting outside your window right now." 

Which talk sounds more interesting?

Just be sure to use language that helps rather than hurts your cause. Learn more in my Free White Paper , "25 Words or Phrases to Avoid in Speeches and Presentations."

How to improve your listening skills in business communication.

3) Tell Them Why They Need to Listen

Here's the most neglected family member of speech introductions—the relative too many speakers kept hidden away in the attic, never to see the light of day. It's the moment you tell everyone why your topic is something they really need to pay attention to.

This is a huge part of engaging audiences and getting them to be present. And as I say, many presenters never even give it a thought. But consider this: every member of your audience is in a "What's-in-it-for-me" frame of mind every time they listen to a speech. They're wondering if this is going to be worth their presence and the effort it took to get here (and the time it's taking them away from their work.) 

If you answer those questions in a way that relates to their lives and makes the payoff to them clear, they will pay attention. "I want to talk about this with you today, because it's going to make your life much easier," is a great way, for instance, to address a new procedure that everyone in the department would otherwise be bored to death to hear about. So tell them specifically what's in it for them. Believe me, their ears will perk up. 

How to engage a public speaking audience.

4) Give Them a Roadmap of Your Journey Together

So let's review. You've hooked your listeners' attention, made your topic sound intriguing, and told them how it's going to improve their lives. You're ready for the final part of your introduction: giving them a roadmap of where you'll be going together.

Call it a blueprint if you like that metaphor. (I prefer roadmap because it presupposes that you will be providing signposts along the way.) Partly, this is a way to make your subject manageable. Whatever that subject is, it's too big to talk about in its entirety. So you have to clue listeners in to the sub-topic areas you'll be addressing in this speech. It may sound something like this:

"I'll be talking about three specific elements of [reaching this goal, gaining this proficiency, understanding what you're looking at, etc.]. First, we'll examine [your first main point]. Once we have that information, we'll be able to [discuss your second item]. Finally, we'll add the third ingredient which will [give us a functioning model, repair the breach, head off the problem in the future . . . whatever the particulars are in your talk]." To me, this is already sounding more interesting than: "Here are the five parts of today's agenda for this speech."

As the great salesman Dale Carnegie once advised (and as I wrote about here ): "Tell the audience what you're going to say, say it; then tell them what you've said." To translate that into today's public speaking: Entice them with the journey you'll be going on together, take them there; then remind them of what an enlightening trip it's been.

You should follow me on Twitter  here . 

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Gary Genard  is an actor, author, and expert in theater-based public speaking training. His company, Boston-based  The Genard Method  offers in-person and online training to help executives and teams become extraordinary communicators. In 2020 for the seventh consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as  One of The World's Top 30 Communication Professionals . He is the author of  How to Give a Speech . His second book,  Fearless Speaking ,  was recently named as " One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time ."  Contact Gary here .

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9.3 Putting It Together: Steps to Complete Your Introduction

Learning objectives.

  • Clearly identify why an audience should listen to a speaker.
  • Discuss how you can build your credibility during a speech.
  • Understand how to write a clear thesis statement.
  • Design an effective preview of your speech’s content for your audience.

Puzzle pieces

Erin Brown-John – puzzle – CC BY-NC 2.0.

Once you have captured your audience’s attention, it’s important to make the rest of your introduction interesting, and use it to lay out the rest of the speech. In this section, we are going to explore the five remaining parts of an effective introduction: linking to your topic, reasons to listen, stating credibility, thesis statement, and preview.

Link to Topic

After the attention-getter, the second major part of an introduction is called the link to topic. The link to topic is the shortest part of an introduction and occurs when a speaker demonstrates how an attention-getting device relates to the topic of a speech. Often the attention-getter and the link to topic are very clear. For example, if you look at the attention-getting device example under historical reference above, you’ll see that the first sentence brings up the history of the Vietnam War and then shows us how that war can help us understand the Iraq War. In this case, the attention-getter clearly flows directly to the topic. However, some attention-getters need further explanation to get to the topic of the speech. For example, both of the anecdote examples (the girl falling into the manhole while texting and the boy and the filberts) need further explanation to connect clearly to the speech topic (i.e., problems of multitasking in today’s society).

Let’s look at the first anecdote example to demonstrate how we could go from the attention-getter to the topic.

In July 2009, a high school girl named Alexa Longueira was walking along a main boulevard near her home on Staten Island, New York, typing in a message on her cell phone. Not paying attention to the world around her, she took a step and fell right into an open manhole. This anecdote illustrates the problem that many people are facing in today’s world. We are so wired into our technology that we forget to see what’s going on around us—like a big hole in front of us.

In this example, the third sentence here explains that the attention-getter was an anecdote that illustrates a real issue. The fourth sentence then introduces the actual topic of the speech.

Let’s now examine how we can make the transition from the parable or fable attention-getter to the topic:

The ancient Greek writer Aesop told a fable about a boy who put his hand into a pitcher of filberts. The boy grabbed as many of the delicious nuts as he possibly could. But when he tried to pull them out, his hand wouldn’t fit through the neck of the pitcher because he was grasping so many filberts. Instead of dropping some of them so that his hand would fit, he burst into tears and cried about his predicament. The moral of the story? “Don’t try to do too much at once.” In today’s world, many of us are us are just like the boy putting his hand into the pitcher. We are constantly trying to grab so much or do so much that it prevents us from accomplishing our goals. I would like to show you three simple techniques to manage your time so that you don’t try to pull too many filberts from your pitcher.

In this example, we added three new sentences to the attention-getter to connect it to the speech topic.

Reasons to Listen

Once you have linked an attention-getter to the topic of your speech, you need to explain to your audience why your topic is important. We call this the “why should I care?” part of your speech because it tells your audience why the topic is directly important to them. Sometimes you can include the significance of your topic in the same sentence as your link to the topic, but other times you may need to spell out in one or two sentences why your specific topic is important.

People in today’s world are very busy, and they do not like their time wasted. Nothing is worse than having to sit through a speech that has nothing to do with you. Imagine sitting through a speech about a new software package you don’t own and you will never hear of again. How would you react to the speaker? Most of us would be pretty annoyed at having had our time wasted in this way. Obviously, this particular speaker didn’t do a great job of analyzing her or his audience if the audience isn’t going to use the software package—but even when speaking on a topic that is highly relevant to the audience, speakers often totally forget to explain how and why it is important.

Appearing Credible

The next part of a speech is not so much a specific “part” as an important characteristic that needs to be pervasive throughout your introduction and your entire speech. As a speaker, you want to be seen as credible (competent, trustworthy, and caring/having goodwill). As mentioned earlier in this chapter, credibility is ultimately a perception that is made by your audience. While your audience determines whether they perceive you as competent, trustworthy, and caring/having goodwill, there are some strategies you can employ to make yourself appear more credible.

First, to make yourself appear competent, you can either clearly explain to your audience why you are competent about a given subject or demonstrate your competence by showing that you have thoroughly researched a topic by including relevant references within your introduction. The first method of demonstrating competence—saying it directly—is only effective if you are actually a competent person on a given subject. If you are an undergraduate student and you are delivering a speech about the importance of string theory in physics, unless you are a prodigy of some kind, you are probably not a recognized expert on the subject. Conversely, if your number one hobby in life is collecting memorabilia about the Three Stooges, then you may be an expert about the Three Stooges. However, you would need to explain to your audience your passion for collecting Three Stooges memorabilia and how this has made you an expert on the topic.

If, on the other hand, you are not actually a recognized expert on a topic, you need to demonstrate that you have done your homework to become more knowledgeable than your audience about your topic. The easiest way to demonstrate your competence is through the use of appropriate references from leading thinkers and researchers on your topic. When you demonstrate to your audience that you have done your homework, they are more likely to view you as competent.

The second characteristic of credibility, trustworthiness, is a little more complicated than competence, for it ultimately relies on audience perceptions. One way to increase the likelihood that a speaker will be perceived as trustworthy is to use reputable sources. If you’re quoting Dr. John Smith, you need to explain who Dr. John Smith is so your audience will see the quotation as being more trustworthy. As speakers we can easily manipulate our sources into appearing more credible than they actually are, which would be unethical. When you are honest about your sources with your audience, they will trust you and your information more so than when you are ambiguous. The worst thing you can do is to out-and-out lie about information during your speech. Not only is lying highly unethical, but if you are caught lying, your audience will deem you untrustworthy and perceive everything you are saying as untrustworthy. Many speakers have attempted to lie to an audience because it will serve their own purposes or even because they believe their message is in their audience’s best interest, but lying is one of the fastest ways to turn off an audience and get them to distrust both the speaker and the message.

The third characteristic of credibility to establish during the introduction is the sense of caring/goodwill. While some unethical speakers can attempt to manipulate an audience’s perception that the speaker cares, ethical speakers truly do care about their audiences and have their audience’s best interests in mind while speaking. Often speakers must speak in front of audiences that may be hostile toward the speaker’s message. In these cases, it is very important for the speaker to explain that he or she really does believe her or his message is in the audience’s best interest. One way to show that you have your audience’s best interests in mind is to acknowledge disagreement from the start:

Today I’m going to talk about why I believe we should enforce stricter immigration laws in the United States. I realize that many of you will disagree with me on this topic. I used to believe that open immigration was a necessity for the United States to survive and thrive, but after researching this topic, I’ve changed my mind. While I may not change all of your minds today, I do ask that you listen with an open mind, set your personal feelings on this topic aside, and judge my arguments on their merits.

While clearly not all audience members will be open or receptive to opening their minds and listening to your arguments, by establishing that there is known disagreement, you are telling the audience that you understand their possible views and are not trying to attack their intellect or their opinions.

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a short, declarative sentence that states the purpose, intent, or main idea of a speech. A strong, clear thesis statement is very valuable within an introduction because it lays out the basic goal of the entire speech. We strongly believe that it is worthwhile to invest some time in framing and writing a good thesis statement. You may even want to write your thesis statement before you even begin conducting research for your speech. While you may end up rewriting your thesis statement later, having a clear idea of your purpose, intent, or main idea before you start searching for research will help you focus on the most appropriate material. To help us understand thesis statements, we will first explore their basic functions and then discuss how to write a thesis statement.

Basic Functions of a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement helps your audience by letting them know “in a nutshell” what you are going to talk about. With a good thesis statement you will fulfill four basic functions: you express your specific purpose, provide a way to organize your main points, make your research more effective, and enhance your delivery.

Express Your Specific Purpose

To orient your audience, you need to be as clear as possible about your meaning. A strong thesis will prepare your audience effectively for the points that will follow. Here are two examples:

  • “Today, I want to discuss academic cheating.” (weak example)
  • “Today, I will clarify exactly what plagiarism is and give examples of its different types so that you can see how it leads to a loss of creative learning interaction.” (strong example)

The weak statement will probably give the impression that you have no clear position about your topic because you haven’t said what that position is. Additionally, the term “academic cheating” can refer to many behaviors—acquiring test questions ahead of time, copying answers, changing grades, or allowing others to do your coursework—so the specific topic of the speech is still not clear to the audience.

The strong statement not only specifies plagiarism but also states your specific concern (loss of creative learning interaction).

Provide a Way to Organize Your Main Points

A thesis statement should appear, almost verbatim, toward the end of the introduction to a speech. A thesis statement helps the audience get ready to listen to the arrangement of points that follow. Many speakers say that if they can create a strong thesis sentence, the rest of the speech tends to develop with relative ease. On the other hand, when the thesis statement is not very clear, creating a speech is an uphill battle.

When your thesis statement is sufficiently clear and decisive, you will know where you stand about your topic and where you intend to go with your speech. Having a clear thesis statement is especially important if you know a great deal about your topic or you have strong feelings about it. If this is the case for you, you need to know exactly what you are planning on talking about in order to fit within specified time limitations. Knowing where you are and where you are going is the entire point in establishing a thesis statement; it makes your speech much easier to prepare and to present.

Let’s say you have a fairly strong thesis statement, and that you’ve already brainstormed a list of information that you know about the topic. Chances are your list is too long and has no focus. Using your thesis statement, you can select only the information that (1) is directly related to the thesis and (2) can be arranged in a sequence that will make sense to the audience and will support the thesis. In essence, a strong thesis statement helps you keep useful information and weed out less useful information.

Make Your Research More Effective

If you begin your research with only a general topic in mind, you run the risk of spending hours reading mountains of excellent literature about your topic. However, mountains of literature do not always make coherent speeches. You may have little or no idea of how to tie your research all together, or even whether you should tie it together. If, on the other hand, you conduct your research with a clear thesis statement in mind, you will be better able to zero in only on material that directly relates to your chosen thesis statement. Let’s look at an example that illustrates this point:

Many traffic accidents involve drivers older than fifty-five.

While this statement may be true, you could find industrial, medical, insurance literature that can drone on ad infinitum about the details of all such accidents in just one year. Instead, focusing your thesis statement will help you narrow the scope of information you will be searching for while gathering information. Here’s an example of a more focused thesis statement:

Three factors contribute to most accidents involving drivers over fifty-five years of age: failing eyesight, slower reflexes, and rapidly changing traffic conditions.

This framing is somewhat better. This thesis statement at least provides three possible main points and some keywords for your electronic catalog search. However, if you want your audience to understand the context of older people at the wheel, consider something like:

Mature drivers over fifty-five years of age must cope with more challenging driving conditions than existed only one generation ago: more traffic moving at higher speeds, the increased imperative for quick driving decisions, and rapidly changing ramp and cloverleaf systems. Because of these challenges, I want my audience to believe that drivers over the age of sixty-five should be required to pass a driving test every five years.

This framing of the thesis provides some interesting choices. First, several terms need to be defined, and these definitions might function surprisingly well in setting the tone of the speech. Your definitions of words like “generation,” “quick driving decisions,” and “cloverleaf systems” could jolt your audience out of assumptions they have taken for granted as truth.

Second, the framing of the thesis provides you with a way to describe the specific changes as they have occurred between, say, 1970 and 2010. How much, and in what ways, have the volume and speed of traffic changed? Why are quick decisions more critical now? What is a “cloverleaf,” and how does any driver deal cognitively with exiting in the direction seemingly opposite to the desired one? Questions like this, suggested by your own thesis statement, can lead to a strong, memorable speech.

Enhance Your Delivery

When your thesis is not clear to you, your listeners will be even more clueless than you are—but if you have a good clear thesis statement, your speech becomes clear to your listeners. When you stand in front of your audience presenting your introduction, you can vocally emphasize the essence of your speech, expressed as your thesis statement. Many speakers pause for a half second, lower their vocal pitch slightly, slow down a little, and deliberately present the thesis statement, the one sentence that encapsulates its purpose. When this is done effectively, the purpose, intent, or main idea of a speech is driven home for an audience.

How to Write a Thesis Statement

Now that we’ve looked at why a thesis statement is crucial in a speech, let’s switch gears and talk about how we go about writing a solid thesis statement. A thesis statement is related to the general and specific purposes of a speech as we discussed them in Chapter 6 “Finding a Purpose and Selecting a Topic” .

Choose Your Topic

The first step in writing a good thesis statement was originally discussed in Chapter 6 “Finding a Purpose and Selecting a Topic” when we discussed how to find topics. Once you have a general topic, you are ready to go to the second step of creating a thesis statement.

Narrow Your Topic

One of the hardest parts of writing a thesis statement is narrowing a speech from a broad topic to one that can be easily covered during a five- to ten-minute speech. While five to ten minutes may sound like a long time to new public speakers, the time flies by very quickly when you are speaking. You can easily run out of time if your topic is too broad. To ascertain if your topic is narrow enough for a specific time frame, ask yourself three questions.

First, is your thesis statement narrow or is it a broad overgeneralization of a topic? An overgeneralization occurs when we classify everyone in a specific group as having a specific characteristic. For example, a speaker’s thesis statement that “all members of the National Council of La Raza are militant” is an overgeneralization of all members of the organization. Furthermore, a speaker would have to correctly demonstrate that all members of the organization are militant for the thesis statement to be proven, which is a very difficult task since the National Council of La Raza consists of millions of Hispanic Americans. A more appropriate thesis related to this topic could be, “Since the creation of the National Council of La Raza [NCLR] in 1968, the NCLR has become increasingly militant in addressing the causes of Hispanics in the United States.”

The second question to ask yourself when narrowing a topic is whether your speech’s topic is one clear topic or multiple topics. A strong thesis statement consists of only a single topic. The following is an example of a thesis statement that contains too many topics: “Medical marijuana, prostitution, and gay marriage should all be legalized in the United States.” Not only are all three fairly broad, but you also have three completely unrelated topics thrown into a single thesis statement. Instead of a thesis statement that has multiple topics, limit yourself to only one topic. Here’s an example of a thesis statement examining only one topic: “Today we’re going to examine the legalization and regulation of the oldest profession in the state of Nevada.” In this case, we’re focusing our topic to how one state has handled the legalization and regulation of prostitution.

The last question a speaker should ask when making sure a topic is sufficiently narrow is whether the topic has direction. If your basic topic is too broad, you will never have a solid thesis statement or a coherent speech. For example, if you start off with the topic “Barack Obama is a role model for everyone,” what do you mean by this statement? Do you think President Obama is a role model because of his dedication to civic service? Do you think he’s a role model because he’s a good basketball player? Do you think he’s a good role model because he’s an excellent public speaker? When your topic is too broad, almost anything can become part of the topic. This ultimately leads to a lack of direction and coherence within the speech itself. To make a cleaner topic, a speaker needs to narrow her or his topic to one specific area. For example, you may want to examine why President Obama is a good speaker.

Put Your Topic into a Sentence

Once you’ve narrowed your topic to something that is reasonably manageable given the constraints placed on your speech, you can then formalize that topic as a complete sentence. For example, you could turn the topic of President Obama’s public speaking skills into the following sentence: “Because of his unique sense of lyricism and his well-developed presentational skills, President Barack Obama is a modern symbol of the power of public speaking.” Once you have a clear topic sentence, you can start tweaking the thesis statement to help set up the purpose of your speech.

Add Your Argument, Viewpoint, or Opinion

This function only applies if you are giving a speech to persuade. If your topic is informative, your job is to make sure that the thesis statement is nonargumentative and focuses on facts. For example, in the preceding thesis statement we have a couple of opinion-oriented terms that should be avoided for informative speeches: “unique sense,” “well-developed,” and “power.” All three of these terms are laced with an individual’s opinion, which is fine for a persuasive speech but not for an informative speech. For informative speeches, the goal of a thesis statement is to explain what the speech will be informing the audience about, not attempting to add the speaker’s opinion about the speech’s topic. For an informative speech, you could rewrite the thesis statement to read, “This speech is going to analyze Barack Obama’s use of lyricism in his speech, ‘A World That Stands as One,’ delivered July 2008 in Berlin.”

On the other hand, if your topic is persuasive, you want to make sure that your argument, viewpoint, or opinion is clearly indicated within the thesis statement. If you are going to argue that Barack Obama is a great speaker, then you should set up this argument within your thesis statement.

Use the Thesis Checklist

Once you have written a first draft of your thesis statement, you’re probably going to end up revising your thesis statement a number of times prior to delivering your actual speech. A thesis statement is something that is constantly tweaked until the speech is given. As your speech develops, often your thesis will need to be rewritten to whatever direction the speech itself has taken. We often start with a speech going in one direction, and find out through our research that we should have gone in a different direction. When you think you finally have a thesis statement that is good to go for your speech, take a second and make sure it adheres to the criteria shown in Table 9.1 “Thesis Checklist”

Table 9.1 Thesis Checklist

Preview of Speech

The final part of an introduction contains a preview of the major points to be covered within your speech. I’m sure we’ve all seen signs that have three cities listed on them with the mileage to reach each city. This mileage sign is an indication of what is to come. A preview works the same way. A preview foreshadows what the main body points will be in the speech. For example, to preview a speech on bullying in the workplace, one could say, “To understand the nature of bullying in the modern workplace, I will first define what workplace bullying is and the types of bullying, I will then discuss the common characteristics of both workplace bullies and their targets, and lastly, I will explore some possible solutions to workplace bullying.” In this case, each of the phrases mentioned in the preview would be a single distinct point made in the speech itself. In other words, the first major body point in this speech would examine what workplace bullying is and the types of bullying; the second major body point in this speech would discuss the common characteristics of both workplace bullies and their targets; and lastly, the third body point in this speech would explore some possible solutions to workplace bullying.

Key Takeaways

  • Linking the attention-getter to the speech topic is essential so that you maintain audience attention and so that the relevance of the attention-getter is clear to your audience.
  • Establishing how your speech topic is relevant and important shows the audience why they should listen to your speech.
  • To be an effective speaker, you should convey all three components of credibility, competence, trustworthiness, and caring/goodwill, by the content and delivery of your introduction.
  • A clear thesis statement is essential to provide structure for a speaker and clarity for an audience.
  • An effective preview identifies the specific main points that will be present in the speech body.
  • Make a list of the attention-getting devices you might use to give a speech on the importance of recycling. Which do you think would be most effective? Why?
  • Create a thesis statement for a speech related to the topic of collegiate athletics. Make sure that your thesis statement is narrow enough to be adequately covered in a five- to six-minute speech.
  • Discuss with a partner three possible body points you could utilize for the speech on the topic of volunteerism.
  • Fill out the introduction worksheet to help work through your introduction for your next speech. Please make sure that you answer all the questions clearly and concisely.

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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how to make a introduction in speech

Make A Speech Introduction That Grabs Audience Attention

Speech introduction

The speech introduction is the first part of a speech and the first opportunity to grab the audience’s attention. The speaker should state the topic, make it relatable to the audience, establish credibility and preview the main points. You should write or finalize your introduction at the end so that it reflects what you actually said.

Listen up, audience!

No matter whether you are giving an informative speech to enlighten an audience about a certain topic or a persuasive speech aims to convince the crowd to adopt a particular viewpoint. But whichever type of speech you’re writing or delivering, one thing is true:  You must create an attention-grabbing speech introduction.

Table of Contents

What Is The Best Way To Start A Speech?

Whether in speech writing or public speaking, the role of a good intro cannot be understated.  It is your best chance to captivate your audience’s attention and entice them to be with you until the rest of your speech. 

It’s also your opportunity to introduce the topic and thesis statement and set up the points you’ll discuss later.  So, keep in mind that you emphasize the relevance of your subject matter to the audience and contextualize it properly. 

These are some of the best ways to make a compelling introduction speech. 

  • State a quote or use a historical event reference.  Analyze your target audience and look for a powerful quote from a relevant figure or a historical event that will resonate with listeners and relate it to your topic. A notable quotation can immediately establish a strong connection. On the other hand, an important event will help you illustrate your point or paint a scenario better. 
  • Share a personal story.  Sometimes, you don’t have to search far and wide to demonstrate a point. You can tap into your personal experience and share something about yourself. Generally, audience members enjoy hearing stories as they pique their interest and get a glimpse of who the speaker is. Your anecdotes will also make you more human and accessible.
  • Start with an “Imagine” or “What if?” scenario.  Want to make your audience engaged? Let their imagination run. In many speeches over the years, some of the most successful ones used this technique. Speakers transport the audience to the future or a scenario wherein their proposed idea or belief reigns. For example, “What if we live in a world where everyone can access healthcare?”
  • Count on a video or any other visual aids.  If you’re a public speaker keen to use technology, you may also want to commence your speech with visual aids. For instance, you can show a pre-prepared video to draw the crowd’s attention right before you speak. If you’re talking about hunger and food security, you can show footage of how such issues take a toll in many third-world countries.
  • Tell surprising statistics.  One of the most effective ways to shock — and, ultimately, grab your audience’s attention is by telling real, hard facts. If you’re looking for a good attention-getter, you can rely on surprising statistics about your topic. For instance, if your topic is bullying, you can mention that in the US,  around 3 million students are victims of bullying.
  • Ask the audience a question.  Another way to hook your audience is by asking them a question. It can be a direct one (e.g., “Who among here are…” then ask for a show of hands). It can also be a rhetorical question (e.g., “What is the meaning of life?”). The key is interacting with the crowd to get their attention and effectively introducing your subject matter. 

Liven up speech introduction with a quote

What Should You Include In the Introduction?

When you look at intro samples and templates on the web,  you’ll find that effective speech introductions contain key elements. And one of the most important is your attention-grabber, which will compel your audience to listen to your speech and narrative.

You must also introduce your speech topic and indicate why it matters to your audience. You should also share something about yourself, especially your credibility, to discuss a particular subject matter. 

Once you’ve laid out these foundations,  state your central idea or thesis statement.  Tell the audience members the point of view you want them to adopt, and  give them a preview of the main points you’re discussing if you’re giving a persuasive speech.  If you’re writing or delivering an informative one, you can provide them with a brief speech outline or the key points you’ll touch upon throughout the body of the speech.

What Are The Best Lines To Introduce A Speech?

One of the most common public speaking tips you’ll encounter is to have a good introduction. To help you capture the audience’s attention, here are some ideas you can use in your speech.

  • A famous quote (For example, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” by Steve Jobs)
  • A song lyric (“Imagine there’s no countries/ It isn’t hard to do/ Nothing to kill or die for/ And no religion, too,” from “Imagine by John Lennon)
  • A line from a poem (“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise,” from “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou)
  • A line from a movie (“Greed, for a lack of a better word, is good,” from “Wall Street”)
  • Reference to a historical event (“Two hundred years ago, one of the most important proclamations was made. Through the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln, the enslaved Black people were given freedom.”
  • Reference to a notable figure (“Stan Lee, the man behind iconic Marvel characters, was hired as an editorial assistant at a comics company after graduating high school.”).
  • A bold statement (“Prostitution must be legalized.”)
  • A serious statement (“Climate change is a pressing issue.”)
  • A humorous line (“Don’t underestimate me. That’s the job of my mom.”)
  • A shocking statistic (“If you’re consuming too much fast food and baked goods, did you know that you are 51% more likely to be depressed?”)
  • A direct question (“Who among here plays violent video games?”)
  • A rhetorical question (“Is there a more powerful feeling than love?”)
  • A personal story (“Back when I was a fresh college graduate, I busied myself applying to the top multi-national companies.”)
  • An anecdote (“Long ago, there was a man — an old but healthy man — who dared climb Mount Everest. He was 80, and he succeeded.”)
  • A what-if scenario (“What if there were no poor people?”)

How Do You Introduce Yourself In A Speech?

Whether you’re a first-time speaker or a veteran, how you approach introducing yourself in a speech is important in establishing your credibility. To avoid getting called boring, you might want to shy away from the usual “Hi, everyone. I’m (your name). I (your credentials), and today I will be talking about (points of the speech).”

Usually, someone else may have given your name and background. This gives you the liberty to begin your speech more interestingly. 

You can start by stating any of the introduction lines listed above, then transition to why listening to you will matter to them. For example, if you’re talking about mental health and depression, you can follow up a surprising statistic with something like, “I know because I was a part of that statistic. Now, I’ve studied to become a therapist myself.”

To further create an air of authority, you must be mindful of your body language  (taking a deep breath before speaking can help you shake off your nervousness and tension).  Additionally, you must make eye contact and speak words clearly. 

How Do You Introduce A Speaker?

Now, if you’re tasked to introduce the one who will deliver the speech, it’s your responsibility to set the right atmosphere and build excitement. 

One of the first things to do is know how to pronounce the speaker’s name and ensure that what you’ll say about the speaker’s credibility is factual.  Since you’re only introducing the speaker, keep things simple and concise. If you want to enrich your introduction, you can ask the speaker what they want to be highlighted (Do they have a new book? Which prestigious groups are they affiliated with?). 

Like what the speaker would do, you must also make eye contact to engage the audience. Practice and have a run-through before you take the stage to guarantee a smooth delivery. 

Introduce a speaker

What Is An Example Of A Speech Introduction?

Speakers and speech writers know how challenging it is to grab an audience’s attention.  Here’s a good example of an introductory speech that uses statistics. This is from English restaurateur  Jamie Oliver  who delivered a TED Talk about food:

“Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead from the food that they eat. 

My name’s Jamie Oliver. I’m 34 years old. I’m from Essex in England, and for the last seven years, I’ve worked fairly tirelessly to save lives in my own way. I’m not a doctor; I’m a chef, I don’t have expensive equipment or medicine. I use information, education.”

What Is The Introduction For A Speech On Bully

Looking for inspiration for a good introduction where your topic is bullying? Check out this sample intro from actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador  Millie Bobby Brown  during World Children’s Day in 2019:

“In world capitals — in buildings like this — adults talk about children’s rights. But today, young people don’t want to be talked about. They want to do the talking.

 Millions of people responded to UNICEF surveys and petitions about what the Convention on the Rights of the Child meant to them. In the words of one young person: ‘Be an active voice. Don’t let things go unnoticed. So today, I want to talk about an issue that is very personal to me. Something that so often goes unnoticed — but causes real suffering. Bullying.”

What Are Some Other Examples Of Speech Introductions?

Below are some more speech introduction examples you can take inspiration from. 

  • “Three things I learned while my plane crashed” by Ric Elias : “Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well, I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D.”
  • “How to find and do work you love” by Scott Dinsmore : “8 years ago, I got the worst career advice of my life.”

“How great leaders inspire action” by Simon Sinek : “How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Or better, how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions?”

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Introduction speech for a guest speaker 

How to write a good introduction speech step by step

By:  Susan Dugdale  

If you've been asked to give the introduction speech for a guest speaker you're in the right place.

Everything you need to prepare it is here. Follow the steps and you'll have an introductory speech you'll be proud to deliver.

What you'll find on this page:

  • an overview of the purpose of an introduction speech for a guest speaker
  • the content you're expected to cover
  • an organizational pattern or template to follow  
  • an example introduction speech
  • 6 important tips to use to ensure your speech is a success

Graphic: a crowd of people and a label saying, "A primer on the gentle art of giving an introduction speech to a guest speaker."

The function of an introduction speech

Let's start with the purpose of the speech. When you understand what the speech is supposed to achieve you'll find it much easier to write.

Image background - audience with overlay of multiple speech bubbles eg. "I can't see from here". Title Text: One of the important roles of an introduction speech is to unite the audience.

The job of an introduction speech is to:

  • introduce your guest speaker,
  • give them a warm welcome, 
  • and create ready-and-motivated-to-listen anticipation in the audience.

Essentially you are the warm-up act. Your task is to focus and unite the audience members, to get them ready for what is to come.

Return to Top

To prepare your introduction speech you'll need:

  • the guest speaker's name and, if they have one, their title. For example; Judge, Sir, The Right Honorable... Do make sure you can say their name properly and easily! If you're in doubt get the correct pronunciation from your guest speaker and practice. Also ask if they have personal pronoun preferences. Eg: they/them, she/her, he/him... 
  • the guest speaker's biography or the credentials of the speaker Sometimes you'll be given what the guest speaker wants said about themselves. If that isn't provided select events, achievements and qualifications to support establishing him/her as an authority within the context of the occasion. And do check that your guest is happy with what you are preparing to say about them.
  • attention getters or a surprise to delight the audience, something that is not commonly known, and something revealing the personality or humanity of the person. 

How to organize your material

  • Build excitement or interest by adding one piece of information after another.
  • Make the speaker's name and their speech title, the climax and end of your speech.

To show you how it's done I've put together an...  

Introduction speech example

Let's put the speech in context to help you make sense of it.

The setting for this fictitious introduction speech is a conference for an organization called " Women in Leadership" . The audience are primarily women drawn together through an interest in leadership roles. 

Image background: crowd of people. Text overlay: Women in leadership - featuring key note speaker Rose Stephenson.

At the end of the speech, the speaker will lead the clapping as Rose Stephenson, the keynote speaker being introduced, takes center stage.

Now here's the introduction speech text.

Now here's the introduction speech text

" She's been a stalwart member of "Women in Leadership" for the last ten years. Over that time she's served in every office: secretary, treasurer, chairperson, chief fundraiser, education officer... to name just a few, and in some roles several times over.

Her passionate dedication to promoting public speaking as an important component of empowerment is inspiring. We estimate that she has personally mentored at least 100 new speakers and has set an extraordinary "yes, you can" example for many more. We see her as capable, confident and fluent: never at a loss for words. But what you probably don't know is that this women once stuttered, stammered and blushed.

Yes, she was often temporarily paralyzed, struck dumb by the mere thought of standing in front of an audience to speak.

How she got from awkward tongue tied silence to becoming an eloquent front line spokesperson is the story she will share with us tonight.

Ladies, without further ado, it's with great pleasure, I give you... Rose Stephenson on "Speaking To Lead!"

Say the speech out loud! Use it as a template!

Try saying it out loud to get the flow of it.

If you like it, use it as a model for the introduction speech you need to write.

6 tips to make your introduction speech successful

1. consider tone and language use.

Is what you've prepared appropriate for the occasion, audience and your guest speaker? Have you avoided using a string of clichés?

2. Check the length of your speech

Image background - crowd of people. Text: Keep it short and sweet.

Pertinent and pithy: a short speech is what you want. One to two minutes should be enough.

Test it out loud with a timer and trim if necessary.

My example speech is 171 words long. That will take approximately 1 minute 30 seconds to say depending on the speaker's rate of speech.

For more on: the number of words per minute in a speech . (This page has estimations for the number of words per minute spoken at a slow, medium and fast rate for speeches from 1 - 10 minutes long.)

3. Resist exaggerating or "puffing up" the speaker's achievements

First impressions count. You don't want to talk about your guest in a way that may embarrass and cause the audience to question their right to be there.

4. Always check your facts 

Beware the horror of getting your facts muddled and, if you wish to mention something that may be sensitive, ask permission before you announce it in front of an audience.

5. Remember you are not the main speaker, or the star of the show

Image background - crowd of people. Text: The speaker who introduces a guest or key note speaker must remember they are the support or warm up act.

You've done a good job when you cover just enough to make the coming speech eagerly anticipated. 

Please do not stray into telling the audience what the guest speaker's speech will cover in detail. That's terribly unfair on the speaker!

6. Rehearse your speech

Practice out loud until you are confidently fluent and able to convey the pleasure or enthusiasm the audience needs to get them in the right frame of mind.

For more: how to rehearse a speech well

For more: how to use your voice expressively

how to make a introduction in speech

Other related pages you may find useful:

  • How to give a self-introduction speech  (with an example of a brief speech to introduce yourself to fellow workshop participants)
  • How to write a welcome speech (with an example of a short welcome speech to open an event)

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How to write a speech that your audience remembers


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Whether in a work meeting or at an investor panel, you might give a speech at some point. And no matter how excited you are about the opportunity, the experience can be nerve-wracking . 

But feeling butterflies doesn’t mean you can’t give a great speech. With the proper preparation and a clear outline, apprehensive public speakers and natural wordsmiths alike can write and present a compelling message. Here’s how to write a good speech you’ll be proud to deliver.

What is good speech writing?

Good speech writing is the art of crafting words and ideas into a compelling, coherent, and memorable message that resonates with the audience. Here are some key elements of great speech writing:

  • It begins with clearly understanding the speech's purpose and the audience it seeks to engage. 
  • A well-written speech clearly conveys its central message, ensuring that the audience understands and retains the key points. 
  • It is structured thoughtfully, with a captivating opening, a well-organized body, and a conclusion that reinforces the main message. 
  • Good speech writing embraces the power of engaging content, weaving in stories, examples, and relatable anecdotes to connect with the audience on both intellectual and emotional levels. 

Ultimately, it is the combination of these elements, along with the authenticity and delivery of the speaker , that transforms words on a page into a powerful and impactful spoken narrative.

What makes a good speech?

A great speech includes several key qualities, but three fundamental elements make a speech truly effective:

Clarity and purpose

Remembering the audience, cohesive structure.

While other important factors make a speech a home run, these three elements are essential for writing an effective speech.

The main elements of a good speech

The main elements of a speech typically include:

  • Introduction: The introduction sets the stage for your speech and grabs the audience's attention. It should include a hook or attention-grabbing opening, introduce the topic, and provide an overview of what will be covered.
  • Opening/captivating statement: This is a strong statement that immediately engages the audience and creates curiosity about the speech topics.
  • Thesis statement/central idea: The thesis statement or central idea is a concise statement that summarizes the main point or argument of your speech. It serves as a roadmap for the audience to understand what your speech is about.
  • Body: The body of the speech is where you elaborate on your main points or arguments. Each point is typically supported by evidence, examples, statistics, or anecdotes. The body should be organized logically and coherently, with smooth transitions between the main points.
  • Supporting evidence: This includes facts, data, research findings, expert opinions, or personal stories that support and strengthen your main points. Well-chosen and credible evidence enhances the persuasive power of your speech.
  • Transitions: Transitions are phrases or statements that connect different parts of your speech, guiding the audience from one idea to the next. Effective transitions signal the shifts in topics or ideas and help maintain a smooth flow throughout the speech.
  • Counterarguments and rebuttals (if applicable): If your speech involves addressing opposing viewpoints or counterarguments, you should acknowledge and address them. Presenting counterarguments makes your speech more persuasive and demonstrates critical thinking.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion is the final part of your speech and should bring your message to a satisfying close. Summarize your main points, restate your thesis statement, and leave the audience with a memorable closing thought or call to action.
  • Closing statement: This is the final statement that leaves a lasting impression and reinforces the main message of your speech. It can be a call to action, a thought-provoking question, a powerful quote, or a memorable anecdote.
  • Delivery and presentation: How you deliver your speech is also an essential element to consider. Pay attention to your tone, body language, eye contact , voice modulation, and timing. Practice and rehearse your speech, and try using the 7-38-55 rule to ensure confident and effective delivery.

While the order and emphasis of these elements may vary depending on the type of speech and audience, these elements provide a framework for organizing and delivering a successful speech.


How to structure a good speech

You know what message you want to transmit, who you’re delivering it to, and even how you want to say it. But you need to know how to start, develop, and close a speech before writing it. 

Think of a speech like an essay. It should have an introduction, conclusion, and body sections in between. This places ideas in a logical order that the audience can better understand and follow them. Learning how to make a speech with an outline gives your storytelling the scaffolding it needs to get its point across.

Here’s a general speech structure to guide your writing process:

  • Explanation 1
  • Explanation 2
  • Explanation 3

How to write a compelling speech opener

Some research shows that engaged audiences pay attention for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Other estimates are even lower, citing that people stop listening intently in fewer than 10 minutes . If you make a good first impression at the beginning of your speech, you have a better chance of interesting your audience through the middle when attention spans fade. 

Implementing the INTRO model can help grab and keep your audience’s attention as soon as you start speaking. This acronym stands for interest, need, timing, roadmap, and objectives, and it represents the key points you should hit in an opening. 

Here’s what to include for each of these points: 

  • Interest : Introduce yourself or your topic concisely and speak with confidence . Write a compelling opening statement using relevant data or an anecdote that the audience can relate to.
  • Needs : The audience is listening to you because they have something to learn. If you’re pitching a new app idea to a panel of investors, those potential partners want to discover more about your product and what they can earn from it. Read the room and gently remind them of the purpose of your speech. 
  • Timing : When appropriate, let your audience know how long you’ll speak. This lets listeners set expectations and keep tabs on their own attention span. If a weary audience member knows you’ll talk for 40 minutes, they can better manage their energy as that time goes on. 
  • Routemap : Give a brief overview of the three main points you’ll cover in your speech. If an audience member’s attention starts to drop off and they miss a few sentences, they can more easily get their bearings if they know the general outline of the presentation.
  • Objectives : Tell the audience what you hope to achieve, encouraging them to listen to the end for the payout. 

Writing the middle of a speech

The body of your speech is the most information-dense section. Facts, visual aids, PowerPoints — all this information meets an audience with a waning attention span. Sticking to the speech structure gives your message focus and keeps you from going off track, making everything you say as useful as possible.

Limit the middle of your speech to three points, and support them with no more than three explanations. Following this model organizes your thoughts and prevents you from offering more information than the audience can retain. 

Using this section of the speech to make your presentation interactive can add interest and engage your audience. Try including a video or demonstration to break the monotony. A quick poll or survey also keeps the audience on their toes. 

Wrapping the speech up

To you, restating your points at the end can feel repetitive and dull. You’ve practiced countless times and heard it all before. But repetition aids memory and learning , helping your audience retain what you’ve told them. Use your speech’s conclusion to summarize the main points with a few short sentences.

Try to end on a memorable note, like posing a motivational quote or a thoughtful question the audience can contemplate once they leave. In proposal or pitch-style speeches, consider landing on a call to action (CTA) that invites your audience to take the next step.


How to write a good speech

If public speaking gives you the jitters, you’re not alone. Roughly 80% of the population feels nervous before giving a speech, and another 10% percent experiences intense anxiety and sometimes even panic. 

The fear of failure can cause procrastination and can cause you to put off your speechwriting process until the last minute. Finding the right words takes time and preparation, and if you’re already feeling nervous, starting from a blank page might seem even harder.

But putting in the effort despite your stress is worth it. Presenting a speech you worked hard on fosters authenticity and connects you to the subject matter, which can help your audience understand your points better. Human connection is all about honesty and vulnerability, and if you want to connect to the people you’re speaking to, they should see that in you.

1. Identify your objectives and target audience

Before diving into the writing process, find healthy coping strategies to help you stop worrying . Then you can define your speech’s purpose, think about your target audience, and start identifying your objectives. Here are some questions to ask yourself and ground your thinking : 

  • What purpose do I want my speech to achieve? 
  • What would it mean to me if I achieved the speech’s purpose?
  • What audience am I writing for? 
  • What do I know about my audience? 
  • What values do I want to transmit? 
  • If the audience remembers one take-home message, what should it be? 
  • What do I want my audience to feel, think, or do after I finish speaking? 
  • What parts of my message could be confusing and require further explanation?

2. Know your audience

Understanding your audience is crucial for tailoring your speech effectively. Consider the demographics of your audience, their interests, and their expectations. For instance, if you're addressing a group of healthcare professionals, you'll want to use medical terminology and data that resonate with them. Conversely, if your audience is a group of young students, you'd adjust your content to be more relatable to their experiences and interests. 

3. Choose a clear message

Your message should be the central idea that you want your audience to take away from your speech. Let's say you're giving a speech on climate change. Your clear message might be something like, "Individual actions can make a significant impact on mitigating climate change." Throughout your speech, all your points and examples should support this central message, reinforcing it for your audience.

4. Structure your speech

Organizing your speech properly keeps your audience engaged and helps them follow your ideas. The introduction should grab your audience's attention and introduce the topic. For example, if you're discussing space exploration, you could start with a fascinating fact about a recent space mission. In the body, you'd present your main points logically, such as the history of space exploration, its scientific significance, and future prospects. Finally, in the conclusion, you'd summarize your key points and reiterate the importance of space exploration in advancing human knowledge.

5. Use engaging content for clarity

Engaging content includes stories, anecdotes, statistics, and examples that illustrate your main points. For instance, if you're giving a speech about the importance of reading, you might share a personal story about how a particular book changed your perspective. You could also include statistics on the benefits of reading, such as improved cognitive abilities and empathy.

6. Maintain clarity and simplicity

It's essential to communicate your ideas clearly. Avoid using overly technical jargon or complex language that might confuse your audience. For example, if you're discussing a medical breakthrough with a non-medical audience, explain complex terms in simple, understandable language.

7. Practice and rehearse

Practice is key to delivering a great speech. Rehearse multiple times to refine your delivery, timing, and tone. Consider using a mirror or recording yourself to observe your body language and gestures. For instance, if you're giving a motivational speech, practice your gestures and expressions to convey enthusiasm and confidence.

8. Consider nonverbal communication

Your body language, tone of voice, and gestures should align with your message . If you're delivering a speech on leadership, maintain strong eye contact to convey authority and connection with your audience. A steady pace and varied tone can also enhance your speech's impact.

9. Engage your audience

Engaging your audience keeps them interested and attentive. Encourage interaction by asking thought-provoking questions or sharing relatable anecdotes. If you're giving a speech on teamwork, ask the audience to recall a time when teamwork led to a successful outcome, fostering engagement and connection.

10. Prepare for Q&A

Anticipate potential questions or objections your audience might have and prepare concise, well-informed responses. If you're delivering a speech on a controversial topic, such as healthcare reform, be ready to address common concerns, like the impact on healthcare costs or access to services, during the Q&A session.

By following these steps and incorporating examples that align with your specific speech topic and purpose, you can craft and deliver a compelling and impactful speech that resonates with your audience.


Tools for writing a great speech

There are several helpful tools available for speechwriting, both technological and communication-related. Here are a few examples:

  • Word processing software: Tools like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or other word processors provide a user-friendly environment for writing and editing speeches. They offer features like spell-checking, grammar correction, formatting options, and easy revision tracking.
  • Presentation software: Software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides is useful when creating visual aids to accompany your speech. These tools allow you to create engaging slideshows with text, images, charts, and videos to enhance your presentation.
  • Speechwriting Templates: Online platforms or software offer pre-designed templates specifically for speechwriting. These templates provide guidance on structuring your speech and may include prompts for different sections like introductions, main points, and conclusions.
  • Rhetorical devices and figures of speech: Rhetorical tools such as metaphors, similes, alliteration, and parallelism can add impact and persuasion to your speech. Resources like books, websites, or academic papers detailing various rhetorical devices can help you incorporate them effectively.
  • Speechwriting apps: Mobile apps designed specifically for speechwriting can be helpful in organizing your thoughts, creating outlines, and composing a speech. These apps often provide features like voice recording, note-taking, and virtual prompts to keep you on track.
  • Grammar and style checkers: Online tools or plugins like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor help improve the clarity and readability of your speech by checking for grammar, spelling, and style errors. They provide suggestions for sentence structure, word choice, and overall tone.
  • Thesaurus and dictionary: Online or offline resources such as thesauruses and dictionaries help expand your vocabulary and find alternative words or phrases to express your ideas more effectively. They can also clarify meanings or provide context for unfamiliar terms.
  • Online speechwriting communities: Joining online forums or communities focused on speechwriting can be beneficial for getting feedback, sharing ideas, and learning from experienced speechwriters. It's an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and improve your public speaking skills through collaboration.

Remember, while these tools can assist in the speechwriting process, it's essential to use them thoughtfully and adapt them to your specific needs and style. The most important aspect of speechwriting remains the creativity, authenticity, and connection with your audience that you bring to your speech.


5 tips for writing a speech

Behind every great speech is an excellent idea and a speaker who refined it. But a successful speech is about more than the initial words on the page, and there are a few more things you can do to help it land.

Here are five more tips for writing and practicing your speech:

1. Structure first, write second

If you start the writing process before organizing your thoughts, you may have to re-order, cut, and scrap the sentences you worked hard on. Save yourself some time by using a speech structure, like the one above, to order your talking points first. This can also help you identify unclear points or moments that disrupt your flow.

2. Do your homework

Data strengthens your argument with a scientific edge. Research your topic with an eye for attention-grabbing statistics, or look for findings you can use to support each point. If you’re pitching a product or service, pull information from company metrics that demonstrate past or potential successes. 

Audience members will likely have questions, so learn all talking points inside and out. If you tell investors that your product will provide 12% returns, for example, come prepared with projections that support that statement.

3. Sound like yourself

Memorable speakers have distinct voices. Think of Martin Luther King Jr’s urgent, inspiring timbre or Oprah’s empathetic, personal tone . Establish your voice — one that aligns with your personality and values — and stick with it. If you’re a motivational speaker, keep your tone upbeat to inspire your audience . If you’re the CEO of a startup, try sounding assured but approachable. 

4. Practice

As you practice a speech, you become more confident , gain a better handle on the material, and learn the outline so well that unexpected questions are less likely to trip you up. Practice in front of a colleague or friend for honest feedback about what you could change, and speak in front of the mirror to tweak your nonverbal communication and body language .

5. Remember to breathe

When you’re stressed, you breathe more rapidly . It can be challenging to talk normally when you can’t regulate your breath. Before your presentation, try some mindful breathing exercises so that when the day comes, you already have strategies that will calm you down and remain present . This can also help you control your voice and avoid speaking too quickly.

How to ghostwrite a great speech for someone else

Ghostwriting a speech requires a unique set of skills, as you're essentially writing a piece that will be delivered by someone else. Here are some tips on how to effectively ghostwrite a speech:

  • Understand the speaker's voice and style : Begin by thoroughly understanding the speaker's personality, speaking style, and preferences. This includes their tone, humor, and any personal anecdotes they may want to include.
  • Interview the speaker : Have a detailed conversation with the speaker to gather information about their speech's purpose, target audience, key messages, and any specific points they want to emphasize. Ask for personal stories or examples they may want to include.
  • Research thoroughly : Research the topic to ensure you have a strong foundation of knowledge. This helps you craft a well-informed and credible speech.
  • Create an outline : Develop a clear outline that includes the introduction, main points, supporting evidence, and a conclusion. Share this outline with the speaker for their input and approval.
  • Write in the speaker's voice : While crafting the speech, maintain the speaker's voice and style. Use language and phrasing that feel natural to them. If they have a particular way of expressing ideas, incorporate that into the speech.
  • Craft a captivating opening : Begin the speech with a compelling opening that grabs the audience's attention. This could be a relevant quote, an interesting fact, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking question.
  • Organize content logically : Ensure the speech flows logically, with each point building on the previous one. Use transitions to guide the audience from one idea to the next smoothly.
  • Incorporate engaging stories and examples : Include anecdotes, stories, and real-life examples that illustrate key points and make the speech relatable and memorable.
  • Edit and revise : Edit the speech carefully for clarity, grammar, and coherence. Ensure the speech is the right length and aligns with the speaker's time constraints.
  • Seek feedback : Share drafts of the speech with the speaker for their feedback and revisions. They may have specific changes or additions they'd like to make.
  • Practice delivery : If possible, work with the speaker on their delivery. Practice the speech together, allowing the speaker to become familiar with the content and your writing style.
  • Maintain confidentiality : As a ghostwriter, it's essential to respect the confidentiality and anonymity of the work. Do not disclose that you wrote the speech unless you have the speaker's permission to do so.
  • Be flexible : Be open to making changes and revisions as per the speaker's preferences. Your goal is to make them look good and effectively convey their message.
  • Meet deadlines : Stick to agreed-upon deadlines for drafts and revisions. Punctuality and reliability are essential in ghostwriting.
  • Provide support : Support the speaker during their preparation and rehearsal process. This can include helping with cue cards, speech notes, or any other materials they need.

Remember that successful ghostwriting is about capturing the essence of the speaker while delivering a well-structured and engaging speech. Collaboration, communication, and adaptability are key to achieving this.

Give your best speech yet

Learn how to make a speech that’ll hold an audience’s attention by structuring your thoughts and practicing frequently. Put the effort into writing and preparing your content, and aim to improve your breathing, eye contact , and body language as you practice. The more you work on your speech, the more confident you’ll become.

The energy you invest in writing an effective speech will help your audience remember and connect to every concept. Remember: some life-changing philosophies have come from good speeches, so give your words a chance to resonate with others. You might even change their thinking.

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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4 Ways of Making the Best Introduction Speech

how to make a introduction in speech

I like building and growing simple yet powerful products for the world and the worldwide web.

Published Date : December 17, 2020

Reading Time :

First impressions influence how others perceive you. An impactful and best introduction speech about yourself will significantly affect a crowd’s first impressions if delivered succinctly and tactfully. 

It is splendid to deliver your speech to the audience. However, the actual speech delivery can be challenging as many individuals struggle with nervousness and forgetfulness, which can affect speech delivery. Also, planning and composing a self-introduction speech can be nerve-wracking and tedious. 

How do we overcome the jitters, prepare, compose, and deliver the most impactful introduction speech to our intended audience?

Let me share the fail-proof ways of planning, creating, and delivering compelling and remarkable introduction speech ideas. 

Pro tip: Before giving any speech , practice your speech at least three times. You can use Orai to practice privately and get feedback on your speech .

What is Introduction Speech ?

This speech is the primary means of introducing oneself to an intended crowd. The crowd can be your colleagues, employers, groupmates, business partners, or only people you want to influence your thoughts and beliefs. It should be concise enough to introduce your goals, interests, or ideas in a short time. 

Importance of Speech of Introduction

A speech of introduction presents a brief background of yourself to the crowd regarding goals, interests, strengths, beliefs, and achievements. It is concise enough to introduce, break the ice, and imprint oneself on the public.  

An introduction speech can be a forerunner of other prominent addresses, an introduction for a guest speaker, or just a speech that elicits acquaintance and influence.   

Four Characteristics of a Good Self-introduction Speech

Leaving lasting first impressions is as important as giving your introductory speech . Good speech of self-introduction must have the following qualities:

Details about your personal life and success regarding names, dates, and events should be presented as accurately and factually as possible. No bluffs should be included, and events should be chronologically correct as they reflect your credibility and honesty. 

A good introduction speech example should be concise in delivering your goals, interests, and intended influence on the crowd but not too dragging to create impatience. The longer you talk, the higher the chances of the audience getting disinterested in your intentions, leading to impatience and disengagement. 

It is essential to give a catchy, concise, and factual introduction to promote and sustain audience engagement.

Adaptable to the Audience and Occasion

A self-introduction speech should convey relevant and adaptable information to the intended audience and occasion. You can jot down notes about the audience’s preferences and type of event and accustom your speech accordingly. Nothing is more impactful than an introduction speech that significantly appeals to audience interest and is occasion-specific. 

Introduction Speech

You can build steady anticipation for your speech by adding inspirational words, quotations, or compelling words. In this manner, your audience will sustain their engagement with your address and initiate interaction.

Let us go to the most tedious task of creating an introduction speech . 

Steps in Creating an Introduction Speech

The  step-by-step process of crafting your speech of introduction includes: 


  • Practice and editing
  • Planning; and 
  • Actual delivery of a speech . 

Introduction Speech

Preparing for your speech involves creating a speech outline, presenting hobbies and interests, self-selling, and standing out. 

The following sentences are part of an introduction speech example based on the steps of speech preparation:

“Good Morning! My name is John Dewey, and I am a computer programming student at Berkeley University.’’ [straightforward introduction] 

“I am developing an app that allows people to order pizza through their Twitter accounts. This innovation is the latest app that I designed.” [interest and career plans]

“My second app won a University award for its contribution to helping people locate nearby dog parks.” [relevant work background]

“Because of my extensive knowledge in app writing and wide professional connections, I know what is useful and helpful to youth nowadays. My apps provide convenience and immediate assistance.” [self-selling]

“I allot lots of time attending app conventions to know the preferences of my audience and always to develop top-cut app designs.” [stand out]

Practice and Editing

The second major step in speech creation is practicing and editing your speech . You can trim down your speech , use short sentences, rehearse, and memorize your address accordingly. 

An introduction speech example showing the use of simple sentences is presented below:

“I used to stay at the off-campus dorm with my best friend. It is in this dorm that I began assembling and disassembling cellphones and laptops.” 

Introduction Speech

Planning your speech involves determining your target audience, relevant points, and speech purpose and tone. 

Actual Delivery of the Speech

Lastly, essential considerations before delivering your speech include relaxation, acceptable body language , avoidance of rush, and use of humor in case of a mistake.

How Do You Start an Introduction Speech?

Introduction Speech

Finally, after spending hours outlining, editing, and rehearsing your speech introduction, you will deliver the speech to the target audience.

The start of an introduction speech is crucial as it captures the audience’s attention and determines the length of interest and engagement of your audience towards your speech . If your crowd felt bored at the start of the speech , there is a small chance of conveying your audience’s influence and message. 

Let us take on the different ways of starting a speech of introduction and actively engrossing your target crowd.   

1. Current Events Reference

Starting your speech with a current, relevant news event is an effective way to grab attention, showing the topic’s relevance in today’s world. You can use news or the latest trends related to your intended speech purpose and target audience. 

An excellent introduction speech example may start with “Good afternoon. America hits 1,000,000 cases of COVID-19 for July 2020.”

2. Use of Quotations

Initiating an introduction speech with a pertinent quote sets the tone for the rest of the speech . You can start a speech of introduction with a quote from Bill Gates, “Life is not fair, get used to it.”

3. The ‘What If’ Scenario

The power of engagement lies in the speaker’s ability to immediately draw his/her crowd’s attention to the speech . Asking a ‘what if’ scenario entices the public to follow the flow of your thoughts. 

“What if we are the sole human inhabitants of this galaxy? What would happen if our races become extinct?”

4. Use of the Word ‘Imagine’ 

This technique applies guided imagery by attracting your audience toward visualizing a mental image of an extraordinary situation. It aims to engage all the audience’s senses to maximize impact and encourage them to think positively. 

“Imagine being stranded on a deserted island with no one beside you. What would be the first thing that you would do?”

5. Storytell 

A well-rehearsed short story or anecdote draws the audience’s attention and elicits emotional involvement and inspiration during a speech . People would remember personal stories more easily than formal public speeches. 

Start with a touching story from someone or your life story, and watch how this story paints an immediate visual appeal relatable to your audience. 

“When I was young, we had a large dog that protected me from harm…”

6. Begin with a Shock

Have your audience hanging on their seats during your speech by delivering powerful, compelling, or startling statements followed by a brief silence. You will engage them with your speech while wondering what you will say next.

“We cannot lose. We can’t lose…”

7. Ask Questions

Presenting a literal or figurative question to your audience at the opening of your speech elicits an intuitive answer, whether a response is needed or not. It allows the audience to feel included in your thoughts and build rapport. 

“Who would not want to be perpetually rich from his perseverance?”

8. Play with Humor

Humor is an effective way of gaining an audience’s interest. You can crack a few jokes to start your speech but always make it appropriate and relatable to your target audience and occasion. 

9. Statistics

You can use a compelling, personalized statistic to incite an emotional plea and convey your message directly to the audience. It can also be an astonishing factual statistic that solves the audience’s problems and is relevant to your chosen topic. 

“It is amazing that 70% of the world population recovered from Covid-19…”

How Do You End an Introduction Speech ?

Introduction Speech

As compelling as you sound when you start your speech and proceed with the body, you are challenged to end your speech as confidently and as impactful as possible. 

The following are unique finishes for your formal speech of introduction while confidently leaving a call to action or a gentle emotional tug. You can even create your signature close for your introduction speech . 

1. Title 

You can use the title of your speech (if there are any) as your final remarks. Final words linger, cement your message, and move your audience. 

2. Circular 

You can bounce back to your opening quote or story, reiterate, and summarize the main points of your speech . 

“We have arrived at the end where we have started…”

3. Challenge 

You can leave an impressive call or challenge for change, action, or participation from your audience. This challenge will motivate your audience to initiate actions based on what they heard from your speech . 

“Let us not rise to get up but rise once we have fallen…”

4. Quotation 

Cite a famous quotation to create a lasting impression for your speech , as well as initiating its closure. 

“With your help, we can think anew, and act anew on the new issues before us today.” – quote from President Abraham Lincoln

5. Repetitive 

Use a phrase and build it repetitively and cumulatively, similar to an increasing drum roll. This repetitive finish will increase the impact of your speech to the audience. 

“A duty, do it. An opportunity, grab it. It is a journey; enjoy it. A goal, attain it…”

6. Singsong

Deliver and restate a specific phrase a few times within your speech . Ask your audience to repeat back the phrase on cue. This singsong finish leaves a remarkable ending to your speech . 

7. Benediction 

 You can extend kind gestures by giving blessings at the end of your speech . 

“Godspeed and take care on your journey…”

8. Congratulatory 

 Use a congratulatory remark as the final part of your speech . This congratulatory finish motivates the audience toward change or action. 

“I salute all the individuals on their selfless plight…”

9. Demonstration 

Lastly, you can show some gestures or point to a prop to signal the closure of your speech . 

For example, you can imitate the closure of a book with your hands and say, “Now concludes the final chapter…”

Sample Self-Introduction Speech Outline

Here is an example of an  introductory speech outline that will serve as a guide for your creation of self-introductory speech :


  • Grab their interest
  • Provide background information
  • Create your item of discussion using minimal sentences
  • Cite examples
  • Offer an impressive answer to your self-introduction speech .

Here are the links for more sample introductory speech outlines:

  • http://orai.com/glossary/self-introduction-speech/  
  • https://www.template.net/business/outline-templates/introduction-speech-outline/
  • https://www.hawaii.edu/mauispeech/documents/introjackoutlinewordtemplate.doc

Sample Self-introduction Speech Topics

The following are self-introduction topics that you can use for your speech :

  • What sets you apart from other individuals?
  • What’s your main goal in life? 
  • What incident plays a large part in your life? Tell the incident and message. 
  • What are your unique skills?
  • What are your essential milestones in your life?

Introduction Speech

Can you provide examples of classic speech transcripts for learning and inspiration?

Consider exploring these inspiring speeches for learning and motivation: Bill Gates’ TED Talk (2015) on pandemics, Sheryl Sandberg’s Harvard commencement address (2014), Ronald Reagan’s Memorial Day speech (1984), and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech . These powerful examples offer valuable lessons in speechwriting and the art of impactful communication.

Parting Words

An introduction speech is essential to delivering your purpose and influence to your target crowd. It can either build or break your credibility or provide a compelling impression on your audience.

You can start by preparing, practicing, editing, and planning for your impactful speech . Once the speech is deliberately created, you can deliver, initiate, and end your introduction speech through the various tips mentioned. 

Your speech can obtain long-lasting first impressions by delivering a remarkable and powerful self-introduction speech with a bang and ending it with a call for action or change. 

Shake away your jitters. You can also download the Orai app to conceptualize, deliberate, and deliver your most promising and compelling introduction speech ! Start your free trial today, which is available on the app store. 

Introduction Speech

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How to Write an Introduction Speech for Public Speaking

by Nicole LaMarco

Published on 2 Nov 2018

The first 30 seconds of any introduction speech seem like the scariest. It doesn’t take long, however, for the fire of the speech to take hold and you get absorbed in the words along with your audience. The first step is to write an intro that caters to your audience while setting the tone you wish to convey. The idea is to open strong in a way that will have you feeling confident and your audience riveted.

Start with a Question

Presenting a rhetorical question is a welcoming way to write an introductory speech. It allows for your audience to feel included in what you have to say, building a sort of rapport. For example, “Have you ever wanted to pack up your house, quit your job and move to the other side of the world? I did. Then I found this technique for applying business principles to happiness.” By starting your intro speech with a question you allow for a lead-in to present what you want to talk about all while engaging your audience.

Start with a Story

A well-recited story draws the audience in and incites compassion. People remember personal stories far more easily than other facets of public speeches. Think back to a touching story someone told you. You can probably remember not just the details of the story but who told you, where you were when you heard it and even small details like the colors of the clothes each of you were wearing. For example, “When I was a child we had a huge dog that protected me from a stranger coming into our yard.” It paints an immediate visual your audience can relate to. That is how impactful a story can be and that is why it is an excellent introduction speech example. Relate the story to the point of your speech for an easy segue into the rest of your talk.

" id="start-with-a-shock " class="title"> Start with a Shock

Begin your introduction speech with an attention-grabbing statement that shocks the audience into focusing on what you have to say. Sometimes called the pace and lead approach, you issue a startling statement and then lead your audience to how such a statement can be resolved. “When I was 15 I was in an auto accident that left me unable to walk unassisted for two years.” That sort of thing grabs an audience by the hand and pulls them closer. Public speaking is about being able to focus the attention spans of dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of people at the same time. Beginning your intro speech with a shocking statistic, anecdote or piece of news will have them wondering what else you might say in the rest of your speech.

When writing an introduction speech for public speaking, consider first what tone you are trying to convey and to what type of audience. That will allow you present a speech that people will not only listen to with rapt attention but also remember long after you’ve left the stage.

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How to Write an Introduction for a Persuasive Speech

Last Updated: October 2, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Gale McCreary and by wikiHow staff writer, Kyle Hall . Gale McCreary is the Founder and Chief Coordinator of SpeechStory, a nonprofit organization focused on improving communication skills in youth. She was previously a Silicon Valley CEO and President of a Toastmasters International chapter. She has been recognized as Santa Barbara Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year and received Congressional recognition for providing a Family-Friendly work environment. She has a BS in Biology from Stanford University. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 150,689 times.

A persuasive speech is meant to convince an audience to agree with your point of view or argument relating to a specific topic. While the body of your persuasive speech is where the bulk of your argument will go, it’s important that you don’t overlook the introduction. A good introduction will capture your audience’s attention, which is crucial if you want to persuade them. Fortunately, there are some simple rules you can follow that will make the introduction to your persuasive essay more engaging and memorable.

Organizing Your Introduction

Step 1 Start off with a hook to grab the audience’s attention.

  • For example, if your speech is about sleep deprivation in the workplace, you could start with something like “Workplace accidents and mistakes related to sleep deprivation cost companies $31 billion every single year.”
  • Or, if your speech is about animal rights, you could open with a quote like “The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham once said, ‘The question is not, Can they reason? Nor, Can they talk? But, Can they suffer?’”
  • For a speech about unpaid internships, you could start with a relevant anecdote like “In 2018, Tiffany Green got her dream internship, unpaid, working for a rental company. Unfortunately, a few months later Tiffany returned home from work to find an eviction notice on the door of her apartment, owned by that same rental company, because she was unable to pay her rent.

Step 2 Introduce your thesis statement.

  • For example, your thesis statement could look something like “Today, I’m going to talk to you about why medical marijuana should be legalized in all 50 states, and I’ll explain why that would improve the lives of average Americans and boost the economy.”

Step 3 Demonstrate to the audience that your argument is credible.

  • For example, if you’re a marine biologist who’s writing a persuasive speech about ocean acidification, you could write something like “I’ve studied the effects of ocean acidification on local marine ecosystems for over a decade now, and what I’ve found is staggering.”
  • Or, if you’re not an expert on your topic, you could include something like “Earlier this year, renowned marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson published a decade-long study on the acidification of our oceans, and what she found is deeply concerning.”

Step 4 Conclude your introduction by briefly previewing the main points you’ll cover.

  • For example, you could sum up your conclusion by writing something like, “To show you that a shorter work week would benefit not only employees but also their employers, first I will touch on the history of the modern average work week. Then, I’ll discuss the mental and physical toll that a long work week can take on a person. Finally, I’ll wrap up by going over fairer, better systems that we as a society could implement.”

Step 5 Limit your introduction to 10-15% of the total length of your speech.

  • For example, if you time yourself giving your speech (introduction included) and it takes you 5 minutes, your introduction should only take up about 45 seconds of your speech.
  • However, if you were giving a speech that’s 20 minutes long, your introduction should be around 3 minutes.
  • On average, you’ll want about 150 words for every 1 minute you need to speak for. For example, if your introduction should be 2 minutes, you’d want to write around 300 words.

Tip: If you know how long your speech is going to be before you write it, make the first draft of your introduction the right length so you don’t have to add or delete a lot later.

Polishing Your Writing

Step 1 Write in a conversational tone.

  • To make your writing more conversational, try to use brief sentences, and avoid including jargon unless you need it to make your point.
  • Using contractions, like “I’ll” instead of “I will,” “wouldn’t” instead of “would not,” and “they’re” instead of “they are,” can help make your writing sound more conversational.

Step 2 Be concise when you’re writing your introduction.

Tip: An easy way to make your writing more concise is to start your sentences with the subject. Also, try to limit the number of adverbs and adjectives you use.

Step 3 Tailor your writing to your audience.

  • For example, if your audience will be made up of the other students in your college class, including a pop culture reference in your introduction might be an effective way to grab their attention and help them relate to your topic. However, if you’re giving your speech in a more formal setting, a pop culture reference might fall flat.

Step 4 Connect with your audience.

  • For example, you could write something like, “I know a lot of you may strongly disagree with me on this. However, I think if you give me a chance and hear me out, we might end up finding some common ground.”
  • Or, you could include a question like “How many of you here tonight have ever come across plastic that's washed up on the beach?” Then, you can have audience members raise their hands.

Step 5 Practice reading your introduction out loud.

  • You can even record yourself reading your introduction to get a sense of how you'll look delivering the opening of your speech.

Example Introduction for a Persuasive Speech

how to make a introduction in speech

Community Q&A

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Be Persuasive

  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/communication/chapter/11-2-persuasive-speaking/
  • ↑ https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/public-speaking-practice-and-ethics/s12-introductions-matter-how-to-be.html
  • ↑ https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/ace/downloads/tipsheets/persvsargu.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.speechanddebate.org/wp-content/uploads/Tips-for-Writing-a-Persuasive-Speech.pdf
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/publicspeaking/chapter/14-1-four-methods-of-delivery/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/speechlab/connecting-with-the-audience-26.htm
  • ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/speechlab/practicing-presentations-33.htm

About This Article

Gale McCreary

To write an introduction for a persuasive speech, start with a hook that will grab your audience's attention, like a surprising statistic or meaningful quote. Then, introduce your thesis statement, which should explain what you are arguing for and why. From here, you'll need to demonstrate the credibility of your argument if you want your audience to believe what you're saying. Depending on if you are an expert or not, you should either share your personal credentials or reference papers and studies by experts in the field that legitimize your argument. Finally, conclude with a brief preview of the main points you'll cover in your speech, so your audience knows what to expect and can follow along more easily. For more tips from our co-author, including how to polish your introduction, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to make a speech introduction that grabs attention?

How to make a speech introduction that grabs the attention?

  • Filed under: Public speaking articles , Public speaking tips and tricks , Speaking tips , Speech delivery , Speech preparation

A speech introduction plays a big role in how well you manage to grab attention. The problem is that the majority of introductions lead the listeners to believe that the presentation is utter crap. If the beginning of your speech is dubious, your listeners will be frustrated.

So, what is a good speech introduction? A good speech introduction draws the audience’s attention to you, raises interest and tells the listeners that something exciting is coming.

But if your prelude leaves the listeners thinking, „Meh?“, you’ll find yourself in a difficult situation. Therefore in today’s blog post I will tell you everything you should know about how to make a speech introduction that grabs attention.

Table of Contents

What are the main objectives of a speech introduction?

The regular speaker has only two objectives:

  • „I have to get it done somehow .” Note that the emphasis here is on the word „somehow”.
  • „I have to get it done as soon as possible.” For the listener, it means a 30-minute speech made in 15 minutes.

However, these two objectives have nothing to do with the interests, needs, and expectations of listeners . And so it happens that in addition to a dull introduction, the entire presentation is quite boring.

I think that eight in ten presentations begin with „Hello, my name is…” and „I’m so lucky to be here”. Indeed, the message is important, but a good speech introduction offers much more. Your task is to be better than the regular speaker.

Broadly speaking, there are three objectives:

  • Grabbing attention
  • Raising interest
  • Sharing background information and clarifying the rules

What’s the main purpose?

Clearly, the main purpose of a speech introduction is to raise interest. If you manage to do that right from the start, it’ll be easier for you to grab attention later on.

Some think that making an introduction is just saying what you’re going to talk about. Wrong! Your introduction should be able to make the audience want to listen to you even more. Tell your listeners why this topic is important and, most importantly, how they can benefit from your presentation.

Example 1: Which book are you more likely to read?

The one that starts with , „Jack was born in Berlin in 1961. His parents were Peter, a military officer, and Josephine“.

Or the one that starts like this , „The first bullet hit Jack’s shoulder“ .

The latter, I’m sure, because it raises immediate interest and questions, „What did Jack do to get shot?“, or „The first bullet? So, he was shot more than once?“

Okay, but when will I be talking about other things?

Indeed, raising interest doesn’t mean that you don’t need to talk about yourself or your topic. You do, just don’t mention them first thing.

Example 2: Which introduction grabs your attention?

Is it the classic one, „Hello! I’m Janek, and today, I’ll be talking about public speaking “ .

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Or rather, „The human brain is a wonderful organ. It starts to work as soon as you are born and doesn’t stop until you’re in a situation like I am right now. This means that you have to face a group and talk about what interests them for two hours. Hello, I’m Janek and today, I’ll be talking about… “

As you can see, I used a story to raise interest, and then, mentioned other important things . These are just two examples how to raise interest right from the start. And this should be the main purpose of your introduction.

How long does a speech introduction need to be?

ln general, the rule of thumb for short speeches is that your prelude shouldn’t exceed 10-15% of the total volume of your presentation. Longer speeches, however, are based on the following rule: „The introduction must be substantially and temporally proportionate.“

Example 1: If you need to make a 30-minute speech , then more than 3-4 minutes long beginning tends to overdo it and say nothing.. Consequently, the 10-15% rule is appropriate here.

Example 2: If you need to make a 120-minute speech, a 12-18-minute introduction is too long. This means that the 10-15% rule doesn’t apply here, and a substantive and temporal proportion is more important.

Thus, an overly brief introduction may not raise interest, but an overly long introduction is simply annoying.

What parts does it consist of?

First of all, it should be noted right away that the tips below may vary depending on presentation. You must decide when to talk about one or another thing. For example, if the listeners are your acquaintances, skip self-introduction.

Speech introduction parts #1: Grabbing attention

#1: Grabbing attention

A company organises an annual Christmas seminar, which will bring together ca. 100 people from all over the country. Before the start, coffee and cake is offered in the hall, and as the participants meet each other once a year (at a similar event), a lively conversation is all over the place… „Oh, Jack, you’re here as well? How are you?“

The main speaker buries themselves in their laptop, trying to get the projector to work. Once done, they lift their head, look at someone on the front row, and asking, „Shall we start?“ When they receive an affirmative answer, they start with their presentation, but in general, most people chatting in the room at the same time don’t even notice it!

So, this bizarre presentation goes on for about six minutes until somebody in the front row loses it and asks the people to be quiet. „Look! Please stop and pay attention to the speaker who’s been there for a while now.“ Finally, Jack & Co wake up and agree to talk later during the break.

Did you notice what happened in this introductory story? It was not the speaker drawing attention but a participant. But who should really do it? The speaker, obviously.

An effective speech introduction begins with a wake-up call

It’s likely that before the start, the listeners are busy with their own stuff: talking to each other, surf the Web on their laptops or mobiles, walking around, calling, etc. If your introduction is along the lines, „Well, let’s start. My name is…“, people in the third row may not even notice you.

Therefore, grabbing attention is vital , so think carefully about how to do it.

Wake-up calls you can use

Video clips

Say nothing, just start by showing a relevant video clip. If it’s a humorous video, even better. It will definitely draw attention and make it much easier for you to continue. Note, however, that the clip shouldn’t be too long. I believe a 3-minute clip is the absolute maximum.

Audio or music

I once started one of my lectures playing the guitar. I summarised the purpose of the presentation playing the guitar at the same time. It soon turned into a joint singing, which, in turn, worked better than any morning coffee.

Stand in front of the audience and be silent

“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” – Dionysius Of Halicarnassus

Many don’t believe how effective it is. I’ve used this method from time to time. Go on stage, smile in a friendly way, and just stand there. Here’s a tip – try to establish eye contact with somebody from the audience, maybe with the loudest participant, or somebody else.

Once done, you’ll see how fast the rest of the group will try to silence the loudest one. My practice shows that just standing there in the front takes about 30 seconds to draw attention.

You can still artificially prolong the time to make the silence last. And then you start in such a way that everyone thinks, „Wow, that was mind-blowing…“

Do something unusual

For example, don’t start talking facing the listeners, but with your back turned. It may be confusing at first, but works really well. As soon as you’ve grabbed attention, face the listeners – you don’t want to cause them neck pain, right?

Question to the audience

Ask an exciting and relevant question that will make listeners ponder straight away. Here you have to think about how to make a good transition.

Good joke or story

For the sake of a good presentation , don’t start with the cliché, „Something funny happened to me on my way here“. Even if that was the case, nobody will believe you.

Still, making a good joke or two is usually a good idea. And if you’re able to make the listeners giggle during your introduction, you’ve done well. However, you must also remember that your joke must not be cruel or offensive in any way.

Bonus: Do whatever you like

To wrap up, I must say that, in essence, you can do everything you want to draw attention. As long as it meets the two requirements below, everything goes:

  • The „wake-up call“ must be related to the topic

Think for yourself, what happens if you make a somersault with a loud cry as a speech introduction and then start without connecting what you’ve just done to your topic? Obviously, you will grab attention, but the listeners may mistake you for a schizophrenic. Starting with introduction, everything you do must be connected to the topic.

  • Your listeners must be able to relate to what you do

Let’s go back to the previous example: even if you manage to connect the somersault to the topic, this approach may not be suitable for a particular audience. Younger listeners are likely to take it as a good joke, whereas older listeners might be puzzled. Therefore, remember to always think about the background of your listeners.

  • Don’t try to be somebody else

This means that everything you do should make sense. As soon as you try to be someone else, you’re doomed. Even more so, if the listeners have seen the original. In other words, find your own style and adapt it to the two points above.

#2: Self-introduction

Have you seen a speaker giving you a lecture instead of making a speech introduction? They are showing a variety of slides using PowerPoint, with chronologically listed achievements, commenting, „And then I studied here…“ and „Then I worked there…“ At the same time, you’re surfing the Web and playing Solitaire.

Self-introduction is most often required if the listeners don’t know you. In this case, remember to briefly highlight the following things in your self-introduction:

  • How you are connected with the topic
  • What your experience is
  • What your greatest achievements are

Please note that the emphasis here is on the word „briefly“. From time to time, you may need to make a presentation for the experts in the field. In that case, it would be reasonable to introduce your background in a few sentences. Otherwise, try not to be tempted to introduce yourself in too much detail.

#3: Introducing the topics

Here, it would be reasonable to outline the main topics you’re planning to talk about during your presentation. This gives the audience an overview of what to expect. You don’t have to cover all sub-topics and points but point out 3-4 most important ones.

#4: The purpose of the presentation

The fact that you outlined your topics in the previous paragraph doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone clearly understood the purpose of your presentation. You could say, „Today, we’ll be talking about how to make a speech introduction that grabs attention“, but the listeners may not understand why it’s so important to talk about in the first place.

Let the listeners know what to expect at the beginning of your speech. A clear description of your purpose is, to my mind, the best way to do that. You need to clearly outline what the main purpose of your presentation is and what you want to achieve. If your goal (or goals) is clearly worded, the listener will know how they can benefit from your presentation.

There are benefits also in the positive emotions you share with the listeners

Benefits are not always equivalent to money. Have you ever attended at a lecture or training, thinking, „But I already knew it… I just never thought about it in this way!“ It’s already good, right?

Sometimes, when you ask someone about how the presentation was, they’ll say „You know, it was awesome!“ If you specify if they learned anything new, they might even come to the conclusion that they haven’t, but the emotion is what counts. This is one of the tricks many coaches use.

For example, „My goal today is to give you an overview of the main causes of the fear of public speaking and share the tricks how to overcome it so that it doesn’t interfere with your presentation.“

#5: The schedule of the presentation

Before you read on, here’s a task. What do you think is the most important part of the schedule for the listeners? Wait, don’t read on, just think about it!

Is your answer is, „When will I make pauses?“ If so, you’re wrong.

The most important question is “When will you finish?”

Exactly. You could be the world’s best performer, but we all have a life outside the room, so when introducing the agenda, make sure to mention immediately what time you finish. If you fail to do this, be prepared that this will be the first question!

When will you make pauses?

Each audience has a number of passionate smokers who want to know when they can have a smoke. In addition, there is an even larger number of passionate coffee lovers who want to find out when they can have another cup. Well, and then there are a lot of other passionate people who want to know when they can have a walk.

Some people like to like to do the Q&A round in the end. Others don’t care if it’s in the beginning or in the end. Anyway, don’t forget to mention it in your introduction, encouraging the listeners to participate in the discussion and ask questions.

Extra piece of advice: In the case of a short presentation, do the Q&A round in the end Q

If your presentation is short (for example, up to 30 min), remember to mention in your prelude that the Q&A round happens in the end. Otherwise, it may happen that people will be asking questions on the go, which means running out of time.

#7: Sharing the background information

Some speakers believe that as soon as they’re done with the topics used to raise interest, it’s okay to transit to topic development. Unfortunately, there are many more questions that the listeners expect you to answer. Especially, if it’s a longer presentation.

You may have to share your contact information, information about downloading materials, and other things that are secondary but still important. I recommend to mention them last.

Extra piece of advice: avoid saying „Before I start“

I’ve heard several speakers starting their presentation with „Before I start…“ For example, „Before I start, here’s an announcement from the organisers. Namely, the lunch break will be at 12:30, not at noon sharp.“

First of all, what do you mean by saying „Before I start?” You already started. And secondly, you started with a negative message telling the obviously hungry listeners that they had to wait longer for their meal.

Most importantly, as the main purpose of your introduction to raising interest, how well do you think you managed to do that?

Do I always have to go through these points?

Not really. As I said at the beginning of this chapter, what you mention in your introduction depends primarily on who your listeners are and what the general situation is.

For example: if you need to make the same speech at a company meeting on Monday that you did last week, you don’t have to make a decent speech introduction but can get straight to the point.

Example 2: If you’re at your grandmother’s anniversary celebration, for which the whole family comes together, there may be people who don’t know you. In this case, a brief introduction is appropriate, but, obviously, you won’t be talking about some topics or rules.

Speech introduction as a full-course dinner

I remember waiting for lunch once after the first part of training. There was just water and a delicious strawberry dessert on the table. The dessert really looked great.

A girl named Teele sitting opposite me looked at the dessert and said, „ It’s a pity we can’t have the dessert first. “ I was very surprised and asked, „ But why? “

It turned out that the rules wouldn’t allow eating the dessert first. I laughed at it as it got me thinking, „ A speech introduction is like a full-course dinner “ .

Do you want to know how?

Appetiser = Grabbing attention

A proper full-course dinner starts with an appetiser. However, you don’t always get it. But if it’s a proper dinner, you shouldn’t worry.

As mentioned above, grabbing attention is one of the most important parts of your introduction , that’s why I advise you to think about it in several ways. Also remember that what might work well in a small room may not be as effective in a larger room.

Soup = Self introduction

Soup follows after the appetiser. Nice warm and thick soup is generally served more often.

In terms of making a presentation, this means that around eight presentations in ten start with, „Hello! My name is…“. If the soup is poor, in terms of making a presentation, this means a long history lesson on the topic Me, My Education, Work, Family, and Other Things . Some speakers even manage to prepare slides.

Main course = O verview of topics

The main course is most expected. Indeed, there are exceptions if a person orders soup instead of the main course, but we are talking in a generalised way right now.

A good main course is something juicy and tasty, something that gives you joy. A bad main course leaves you thinking you can’t be bothered to continue.

Dessert = Raising interest

Basically, it’s the same with the dessert. Quite often, you just don’t get it. Or you do, but you have to buy it yourself.

However, in the context of making a presentation, „ dessert “ is the most important part of your introduction. You can introduce yourself and your topic, but if the audience isn’t interested in the rest of your presentation, you have obviously made a mistake in the beginning.

This, in turn, brings us back to the question I asked Teele in the beginning. Here’s the question:

Why can’t you have dessert first?

If the main purpose is to raise interest, why do you spend it on greetings and introducing yourself and your topics? Better think of the different ways to raise interest right from the start. There are different ways to do that, e.g., stories, examples, jokes, quotes, etc.

Speech introduction as a full-course dinner

When should I have my speech introduction ready?

Humans are as lazy as you let them be, that’s why I advise you to write your introduction once the body and the summary of your presentation are ready. Surprisingly, introduction comes last.

Why? It may happen that if you get your introduction ready first thing, you may need to change it later after adjusting the original plan. For example, if you introduce new ideas that you didn’t plan at first, you will need to leave some original ideas out.

If you use the original speech introduction, you’ll promise something you may not be talking about. However, if you leave your introduction to the last, you’ll know exactly what to include.

Practicing your introduction

Making a good speech beginning requires a lot of effort. You can be the fastest man in the world, but if you fail to start off, you’ll never win a medal. In other words, if you are boring and you fail to grab interest, it will be much more difficult for you to do so in the body of your presentation.

Therefore, take your time to prepare and think through what you can do to draw attention and interest right from the start. If you’re making a longer speech and don’t have enough time to practice the entire speech, I definitely recommend to practice your introduction.

You’re probably more nervous at the beginning of the speech than as the speech progresses, so the fact that you’ve practiced your prelude repeatedly gives you a great deal of self-confidence.

Read more about how to do a proper elevator pitch here.

To sum up: How to make a speech introduction that grabs attention?

A good start creates a great foundation for your success. So think carefully about what you do and how you do it. Starting your speech, you have just one chance to impress, positively influence, and interest the audience. If you fail to do it with your introduction, why do you think you will succeed later on?

Thus, I recommend the tips outlined in today’s blog post on how to make a good speech introduction to use in your next presentation.

The main thing you should keep in mind:

  • It should make 10-15% of a presentation.
  • A good start must seek attention. No matter how you do it, it must be related to the topic you’re talking about, the audience, you, and the positive environment you’re creating.
  • It’s important to establish a relationship of sympathy between you and the audience.
  • The main purpose of introducing your presentation is to raise interest. If the listeners are with you from the first moments, it’ll be easier for you to make the rest of the speech.
  • Let the audience know who you are and why you’re making a speech.
  • Describe what you’ll be talking about and give an overview of the structure of your presentation – how long it is, which topics you’re going to cover, if and when there will be pauses, when your speech ends.
  • All listeners are always thinking about the same thing, „ What benefit do I get from your presentation? “ Be sure to answer this question straight away.
  • You should write your introduction last as only you know what you’ll be introducing. This way, you’ll also avoid including something in your introduction that you won’t be actually talking about.

Related questions

What is an impromptu speech? An impromptu speech is a speech which given without any thorough preparation. It is five- to eight-minute speech with a characteristically short preparation time of couple of minutes. ( full article here )

What is elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a well-thought, meaningful, and repeatedly practisced brief (about 30-60 seconds long) overview of who you are, what you offer, and how your partner can benefit from it ( full article here ).

What is a persuasive speech? The main objective of a persuasive speech is to make your listeners do what you want them to do. For example, „buy my product“, „vote for me“, „believe what I’m talking about“, and so on. ( full article here)

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Hi! My name is Janek Tuttar, and I am the founder and author of SpeakAndConquer.com.

I have been teaching and blogging about public speaking since spring 2007. Here, I am sharing the wisdom of how to cope in different public speaking situations.

Send me an e-mail: [email protected]


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Introduction Speech

Introduction Speech Examples

Discover the art of crafting compelling introduction speeches through our comprehensive guide. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned speaker, our step-by-step approach simplifies the process. Explore a rich collection of speech examples , tailored to inspire and improve your public speaking skills. Master the nuances of delivering impactful introductions that captivate your audience, using our expertly curated speech examples as your roadmap to success.

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A speech can be of any form and used for various functions. It can be a thank-you speech to show one’s gratitude or even an introduction speech to introduce a person (even oneself), product, company, or the like. In these examples, let’s look at different speech examples that seek to introduce.

Introduction Speech Example

introduction speech example

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Introduction Speech for Students

introduction speech for students

Introduction Speech for School

introduction speech for school

Self-Introduction Sample

self introduction sample4

Size: 143 KB

Short Introduction Speech

short introduction speech2

Size: 110 KB

Introduction Speech for Employee

personal introduction example

Size: 47 KB

What to Include in an Introduction Speech

An introduction speech may also work as a welcome speech . You introduce yourself to an audience and provide the audience with the gist of a meeting or program. This would include providing recognition to significant individuals or even starting a brief discussion on a topic.

But of course, this would solely depend on what you’re trying to introduce. You can also use various speech templates for you to know what other information may be included in your speech.

How to Write a Introduction Speech?

In writing an introduction speech, it’s wise to familiarize the flow of a program.

Think about what your goal is and how you could attain it. You need to be able to capture the attention and interest of your listeners. If you’re giving a speech to introduce the president of your company, be sure to make it grand. Share significant details that are sure to receive a wow factor from the audience as an introduction speech can also be an informative speech . Keep in mind that it’s always best to start with an outline or draft so it will be easier for you to edit.

Introduction Speech for Chairman

introduction speech for business

Size: 281 KB

introduction speech for students


Size: 13 KB

Formal Introduction Sample

formal introduction sample2

Size: 223 KB

Tips on Writing an Introduction Speech

1. Keep it short. When you try to self introduction speech   to a person you just met, you don’t tell them paragraphs of information that aren’t even relevant. You would want to entice an audience, not bore them out. You don’t need to make it lengthy for it to be good. A few wise words and a touch of class will be enough for your listeners.

2. Make an outline. Introductions are meant to give an audience a quick run through of what they must know. Create a speech outline that will state the purpose of your speech and provide a preview of main ideas that are to be discussed. This is sure to give your audience a reason to listen.

3. Create an icebreaker. Speeches can be quite awkward, especially since they’re usually made formal. Craft a speech that will leave a good impact. Allow others to feel comfortable with the environment they are in and allow them to feel valued. You may also see orientation speech examples & samples

4. Read it out loud. The thing is, some things sound better in our heads than being said aloud. It’s possible that your speech in pdf may contain words that don’t sound good together or that it might give a different interpretation on a matter.

How to Conclude an Introduction Speech

Just as an essay can be conclude speech in different ways, an introduction speech may end in various ways.

You can close it in a challenging, congratulatory, suggestive or even inviting matter. It’s best to keep it as brief as possible to let your listeners know that you’re ending your speech in word . All you need to make sure of is that you don’t abruptly end your speech, leaving your audience hanging.

In the realm of public speaking, the introduction speech serves as a crucial gateway, opening the door to deeper engagement and understanding. Whether it’s for a corporate event, educational purpose, or a personal introduction, the essence of a good introduction speech lies in its ability to connect the speaker with the audience on a meaningful level. To further enhance your skills in crafting and delivering effective introduction speeches, exploring resources from esteemed institutions can be immensely beneficial. Websites like Harvard’s Public Speaking Resources offer a treasure trove of tips, techniques, and examples that can inspire and guide speakers to refine their approach.

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How to Write an Introduction Speech

March 29, 2024

An introduction speech stands as your first opportunity to connect with an audience, setting the tone for the message you wish to convey. It’s not just about presenting yourself or a topic; it’s about captivating your listeners, sparking interest, and building a bridge from the very first word. Mastering how to write an introduction speech is crucial, as it can influence the audience’s attention and receptiveness to your message. This article discusses the essentials of crafting an engaging introduction speech, from understanding its purpose to structuring your delivery for maximum impact. We’ll look into techniques for researching your audience, generating compelling ideas, and weaving personal stories with humor and emotion to leave a lasting impression. By dissecting the anatomy of a memorable conclusion and offering guidance on speech evaluation and improvement, this guide ensures you have all the tools at your disposal.

Ready to captivate an audience with your opening words? Let’s research the art of creating an introduction speech that resonates and engages, ensuring your message not only reaches but also moves your audience.

Shape your speech’s opening with our new AI writer , turning ideas into captivating intros quickly.

Understanding the Purpose

Introduction speeches are pivotal across various contexts, from academic presentations and professional meetings to social gatherings and ceremonial events. These speeches provide a platform to present oneself or introduce another individual, topic, or issue, laying the groundwork for what is to follow. Whether it’s welcoming a keynote speaker at a conference, introducing a new team member at a company meeting, or setting the stage for a debate in an academic course, the introduction speech creates a crucial first impression and sets the tone for the engagement.

The objectives of an introduction speech go beyond mere presentation. This type of speech aims to engage the audience’s interest and curiosity from the outset, establish credibility and rapport, and provide a clear and enticing preview of the content. It’s about making the audience feel invested and excited about what they’re about to hear, see, or learn. By effectively capturing attention and setting the right expectations, an introduction speech acts as a bridge that seamlessly connects the speaker or subject matter with the audience, ensuring a receptive and engaged environment for the main content that follows.

Researching the Audience

Tailoring your speech to the audience is fundamental to ensuring its success. An introduction speech that resonates with its listeners can significantly enhance engagement, understanding, and the overall impact of your message. Recognizing the diversity of your audience, including their interests, knowledge level, and expectations, allows you to craft a speech that speaks directly to them, fostering a deeper connection and receptiveness to your message.

To write an introduction speech effectively, conducting thorough audience research is essential. Start by identifying the demographic characteristics of your audience, such as age, profession, and cultural background. This information can guide the tone, language, and content of your speech, making it more relevant and engaging for your listeners. Additionally, consider the context of the event and the audience’s potential familiarity with the topic or person you are introducing. Understanding their perspective can help you highlight the most pertinent information and address any existing knowledge gaps.

Surveys, social media, and direct interactions offer valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and expectations. If possible, engage with your audience beforehand through these channels or by attending similar events to gauge their interests and the types of introductions that have resonated in the past. This preparatory work informs your speech’s content and delivery style and demonstrates your commitment to meeting the audience’s needs, setting the stage for a well-received and impactful introduction.

Introduction Speech Ideas

Crafting an engaging introduction speech begins with a brainstorming process that melds creativity with strategy. Start by considering the key message or theme you wish to convey, and then explore various angles to present it compellingly. An effective approach involves drawing on personal experiences or anecdotes related to the topic. These stories can humanize your speech, making it more relatable and memorable for your audience.

Incorporating Personal Experiences

Using personal experiences in your speech is a powerful tool to establish authenticity and connect with your audience emotionally. Select stories or examples from your life that reflect broader themes relevant to your audience or the individual you introduce. This method captivates listeners and adds depth to your introduction, highlighting your personal stakes or interest in the topic.

Identifying Common Ground with the Audience

Finding common ground with your audience is crucial for building rapport and ensuring your message resonates. Research your audience’s interests, challenges, and values to identify shared themes. By highlighting these shared experiences or concerns in your speech, you create a sense of community and inclusivity, encouraging your audience to engage more deeply with the subsequent content. This approach fosters a collaborative atmosphere, making your introduction an inviting gateway to the main content.

Structuring the Speech

Effectively organizing your introduction speech is key to delivering your message clearly and engagingly. A well-structured speech guides your audience through your presentation, ensuring they grasp the key points and feel motivated to listen further. Begin with a clear opening that captures attention, followed by the body, where you provide the details, and conclude with a brief summary or a statement that transitions smoothly into the main content or the next part of the event.

Example Outline

  • Opening Hook: Start with a compelling statement, question, or anecdote that directly engages your audience. This should relate closely to the theme of your speech or the significance of the individual you’re introducing.
  • I ntroduction to the Topic/Person: Provide a concise overview of what or whom you’re introducing. Highlight the relevance and importance to the audience without delving into too much detail.
  • Key Points: Break down the main elements you want to cover. This could include background information, notable achievements, or personal anecdotes that illuminate the subject’s character or the significance of the topic.
  •  Engagement with the Audience: Incorporate questions or prompts that encourage the audience to think about how the topic or person relates to them personally or professionally.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key points briefly and end with a statement that leaves the audience intrigued or thoughtful. This could also be a transition that introduces the next speaker or leads into the main content of the event.

This outline is a flexible template to tailor your introduction speech, ensuring it is coherent, concise, and compelling.

Crafting the Opening Hook

Capturing the audience’s attention immediately sets the stage for a successful introduction speech. The opening hook is your first and perhaps most crucial opportunity to engage your listeners, compelling them to invest their attention in what you have to say. To achieve this, your hook should be relevant and intriguing, piquing curiosity or provoking thought from the outset.

Strategies for devising an effective hook include starting with a surprising fact or statistic related to your topic, telling a short, impactful story, asking a provocative question, or presenting a quote to set your speech’s tone. The key is to connect this hook to the core message of your speech, ensuring it serves as a natural gateway to the details that follow.

Example of an Effective Hook

Imagine you’re about to write an introduction speech for a renowned environmental scientist. An effective hook might be:

“Every minute, an area of forest the size of 20 football fields is lost to deforestation. Tonight, we have the privilege of hearing from someone who has dedicated their life to turning this tide.”

This hook grabs attention by presenting a startling fact, then quickly transitions to introduce the speaker in a way that underscores their significance and the relevance of their work to the audience. It sets the stage for an engaging discussion, inviting the audience to learn more about the challenges and solutions related to deforestation. By choosing such a hook, you captivate your listeners and seamlessly connect the opening to the broader theme of your introduction speech, ensuring a cohesive and compelling start.

Developing the Body of the Speech

When aiming to write an introduction speech, remember that maintaining the audience’s interest through the body of your speech is paramount to effectively delivering your message. It’s crucial to articulate your points with clarity and structure them in a manner that flows logically. This ensures your audience follows along easily and remains engaged throughout. Integrating a variety of elements, such as personal stories, insightful facts, and visual aids when appropriate, can significantly enhance the dynamic nature of your speech and facilitate a stronger connection with your audience.

Including Personal Stories

Incorporating personal stories within the body of your introduction speech serves as a potent method to amplify its relatability and impact. By sharing experiences that vividly illustrate your points, you transform abstract concepts into tangible and memorable insights. Select anecdotes that either mirror the audience’s experiences or align with their aspirations, ensuring these narratives reinforce your overall message while keeping listeners engaged and connected.

Incorporating Humor and Emotion

A key strategy in how to write an introduction speech involves the strategic use of humor and emotion. These elements can invigorate your speech, making the experience more enjoyable and relatable for your audience. Humor, when used appropriately, can alleviate tension and foster a congenial atmosphere, while emotional anecdotes can deepen the audience’s connection with the topic. However, maintaining a careful balance is essential to ensure that humor and emotional content enhance rather than detract from your speech’s primary message.

Wrapping Up with a Memorable Conclusion

Concluding your introduction speech on a high note is critical for leaving a lasting impression on your audience. Briefly recapitulate your main points to reinforce your speech’s core message, then close with a powerful statement or thought-provoking question that encourages reflection. This is also the moment to propose a clear, compelling call to action, prompting your audience to engage further with the topic or initiate a change in perspective or behavior.

Call to Action

A well-crafted call to action in an introduction speech encourages your audience to take concrete steps related to your presentation’s content. Whether to deepen their understanding of a topic, participate in a relevant activity, or adopt a new viewpoint, a direct and persuasive call to action can transform your speech from a passive listening experience into an impetus for active participation or change.

Evaluating and Improving the Speech

The process of evaluating and improving your introduction speech is an integral part of learning how to write an introduction speech effectively. This involves seeking and reflecting on feedback, reviewing recordings of your speech to assess your delivery, and considering the audience’s engagement and reactions. Focus on the clarity of your message, the effectiveness of your engagement strategies (including humor, personal stories, and emotional content), and your speech’s overall pacing and tone. Embrace continuous learning and adaptation to refine your speech-making skills, ensuring that each speech you deliver is more impactful than the last.

To write an introduction speech that truly resonates with your audience, it’s essential to master each element—from the engaging opening hook and the development of a dynamic body to a conclusion that leaves a memorable impact. This guide underscores the importance of understanding your audience, incorporating personal and emotional elements, and concluding with a strong call to action. By continually evaluating and refining your approach based on feedback and self-assessment, you’ll enhance your ability to create compelling introduction speeches that captivate and inspire your listeners from start to finish.

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  • How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples

How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

  • Catch your reader’s attention.
  • Give background on your topic.
  • Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

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Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

  • Braille was an extremely important invention.
  • The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

  • The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
  • The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

  • Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

  • Historical, geographical, or social context
  • An outline of the debate you’re addressing
  • A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
  • Definitions of key terms

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

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McCombes, S. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 30, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/introduction/

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  • Open access
  • Published: 28 March 2024

Improved tactile speech robustness to background noise with a dual-path recurrent neural network noise-reduction method

  • Mark D. Fletcher 1 , 2 ,
  • Samuel W. Perry 1 , 2 ,
  • Iordanis Thoidis 3 ,
  • Carl A. Verschuur 1 &
  • Tobias Goehring 4  

Scientific Reports volume  14 , Article number:  7357 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Auditory system
  • Sensorimotor processing
  • Sensory processing
  • Translational research

Many people with hearing loss struggle to understand speech in noisy environments, making noise robustness critical for hearing-assistive devices. Recently developed haptic hearing aids, which convert audio to vibration, can improve speech-in-noise performance for cochlear implant (CI) users and assist those unable to access hearing-assistive devices. They are typically body-worn rather than head-mounted, allowing additional space for batteries and microprocessors, and so can deploy more sophisticated noise-reduction techniques. The current study assessed whether a real-time-feasible dual-path recurrent neural network (DPRNN) can improve tactile speech-in-noise performance. Audio was converted to vibration on the wrist using a vocoder method, either with or without noise reduction. Performance was tested for speech in a multi-talker noise (recorded at a party) with a 2.5-dB signal-to-noise ratio. An objective assessment showed the DPRNN improved the scale-invariant signal-to-distortion ratio by 8.6 dB and substantially outperformed traditional noise-reduction (log-MMSE). A behavioural assessment in 16 participants showed the DPRNN improved tactile-only sentence identification in noise by 8.2%. This suggests that advanced techniques like the DPRNN could substantially improve outcomes with haptic hearing aids. Low-cost haptic devices could soon be an important supplement to hearing-assistive devices such as CIs or offer an alternative for people who cannot access CI technology.

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Hearing-assistive devices often fail to effectively extract speech from background noise 1 . Users therefore often struggle to follow conversations in challenging listening environments, such as busy classrooms, cafes, and offices. Cochlear implant (CI) users tend to have particular difficulty in these scenarios 2 . Several recent studies have shown that supplementing the electrical CI signal by providing speech information through haptic stimulation (“electro-haptic stimulation” 3 ) can improve speech-in-noise performance 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 . There is also evidence that these haptic hearing aids can be effective as standalone sensory substitution devices. These could be used to support the many millions of people who could benefit from a CI but cannot access the technology due to medical constraints or limitations in healthcare provision 5 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 . For haptic hearing aids to be effective, either for sensory substitution or augmentation, audio-to-haptic conversion strategies that are robust to background noise must be developed.

Some previous studies have avoided the issue of noise robustness by converting the clean speech signal to haptic stimulation, rather than the speech-in-noise signal that would be received by the microphone of a haptic hearing aid 6 , 7 , 8 . While these studies, which have shown substantial benefits to speech-in-noise performance, provide a proof-of-concept, they leave unaddressed a major obstacle in the translation of laboratory benefits to the real world. Other studies have converted the speech-in-noise signal to haptic stimulation and have also shown considerable benefits to speech recognition 3 , 4 , 9 . The method used to reduce the impact of noise in these studies was envelope expansion, which enhances high intensity parts of the haptic signal. While envelope expansion is effective when speech is considerably more intense than background noise 3 , 4 , 9 , it breaks down at more challenging (low or negative) signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) 3 , 4 . If haptic signal extraction strategies that are robust in these more challenging listening scenarios can be developed, this would substantially widen the group of people who could benefit from haptic hearing aids.

One advantage of haptic hearing aids compared to other hearing-assistive devices, such as CIs or acoustic hearing aids, is that they are typically worn on the body (e.g., the wrist) rather than the head. They therefore have significantly more form-factor flexibility and design space available. This allows the use of larger, more powerful batteries and microprocessors that can deploy more sophisticated noise-reduction techniques 15 . The current study explored whether an advanced real-time-feasible noise-reduction method, using a recurrent neural network, can effectively extract the haptic speech signal from background noise at challenging SNRs and improve tactile speech perception.

Noise-reduction or “speech enhancement” techniques, aim to enhance the intelligibility and quality of speech in background noise. Traditional approaches using statistical models, such as log-spectra amplitude estimators, have failed to improve the intelligibility of speech in noisy environments commonly encountered in the real world, which contain competing speech and other fluctuating sounds 16 . Recently, data-driven machine-learning methods have revolutionised noise reduction, particularly for extracting speech in these more challenging scenarios. Such methods, which are usually based on deep learning (including variants of artificial neural networks), can substantially improve speech intelligibility for normal-hearing listeners 17 , listeners with hearing loss 18 , 19 , and CI users 20 , 21 . One of the most effective deep-learning noise-reduction methods developed in this rapidly advancing field is the dual-path recurrent neural network (DPRNN) 22 . The DPRNN operates on the long-term speech signal while retaining high temporal and spectral resolution. Critically, it also has excellent generalisation to unseen talkers and background noises.

Conventional recurrent neural networks are ineffective at modelling long sequences due to optimization issues, such as vanishing and exploding gradients 23 . The long short-term memory (LSTM) method was developed to overcome these deficiencies 24 , 25 . The DPRNN architecture utilizes residual LSTM blocks with layer-normalized alternating global and local processing paths to improve performance over a single LSTM layer or multiple LSTM layers stacked together. The DPRNN uses an encoder-masker-decoder architecture and recent work has shown that, across several metrics, it can outperform other state-of-the-art networks, such as ConvTasNet 22 . Furthermore, the DPRNN is more efficient than alternative cutting-edge architectures, such as the Dual-Path Transformer Neural Network 26 and the Dual-Path Convolution Recurrent Network 27 , regarding the number of trainable parameters and the computational load.

The current study assessed whether a quasi-causal real-time feasible DPRNN approach could improve tactile speech-in-noise performance. This DPRNN was parameterised to fulfil processing latency requirements for real-time applications by using causal normalization methods and only 5.75-ms of future information. The DPRNN architecture integrates bi-directional LSTM units for local processing within each 5.75-ms window and uni-directional LSTM units for sequential processing across these windows to avoid further delay. The algorithmic delay is well below the processing latency of around 20–30 ms that would usually be considered tolerable for hearing-assistive devices, such as hearing aids and CIs 28 .

For audio-to-tactile conversion, the audio was processed with the quasi-causal DPRNN before being converted to vibro-tactile stimulation on the wrist using a previously developed tactile vocoder approach 3 , 4 , 9 , 10 , 14 . The tactile vocoder filters the audio into several frequency bands, and the amplitude envelope from each band is used to modulate the amplitude of one of several vibro-tactile tones. The tactile vocoder approach has been shown to be effective for transferring phoneme information 10 , 14 and improving speech-in-noise performance for CI users 3 , 4 , 9 .

The quasi-causal DPRNN was assessed both objectively and behaviourally. The objective assessment aimed to establish whether the quasi-causal DRPNN could effectively extract speech from multi-talker noise and outperform traditional noise-reduction methods. The multi-talker noise used was representative of environments that listeners with hearing loss typically find most challenging, with competing speech and other fluctuating and transient sounds. The behavioural assessment tested whether objectively measured denoising of the tactile speech in multi-talker noise signal by the DPRNN translated into improvements in tactile speech identification. In objective testing, the quasi-causal DPRNN was compared to log MMSE 29 , which is a leading traditional noise-reduction method 30 . Note that the expander approach used in previous studies with tactile speech in noise is not suitable for an objective comparison such as this, because it intentionally alters the speech signal. It therefore cannot be directly compared to these other noise-reduction methods for which clean speech serves as a reference. Furthermore, as discussed, the expander approach has been shown to be ineffective at the challenging SNRs that this study focuses on. In addition to log MMSE, the quasi-causal DPRNN was compared to causal and non-causal implementations (all trained using the same data) to establish the effect of including future information.

In the objective assessment, the scale-invariant signal-to-distortion ratio (SI-SDR) of the tactile vocoder amplitude envelopes was compared for speech in either a multi-talker or a stationary (speech-shaped) noise. The speech and noise stimuli used in the objective assessment had not been used to train the DPRNNs. The assessment was done for a range of SNRs (− 2.5 dB, 2.5 dB, and 7.5 dB). Additional SI-SDR and eSTOI 31 scores were also extracted for the audio (without tactile vocoding) to allow a comparison between the noise reduction methods used in the current study and those used in other hearing studies. These two measures are widely employed to assess speech processing algorithms, with eSTOI used to predict speech intelligibility for human listeners.

In the behavioural assessment, tactile sentence identification with and without the quasi-causal DPRNN was measured both in quiet and in multi-talker noise (the same that was used in objective testing). In noise, the SNR was set to 2.5 dB (though note that this is equivalent to around 0 dB SNR in many previous studies; see “ Methods ”). This represents one of the more challenging SNRs that listeners with hearing loss encounter in daily life 32 , 33 and is an SNR at which most CI users have no appreciable speech intelligibility 3 , 9 .

Objective assessment

There were two stages to the objective assessment of the quasi-causal DPRNN method. In the first stage, the SI-SDR of the tactile vocoded speech in noise (referenced to time-aligned clean speech) was calculated for the causal, quasi-causal, and non-causal DPRNNs, as well as for the traditional log-MMSE noise reduction method. Performance was assessed for male and female speech either with a stationary noise, which was filtered to match the international long-term average speech spectrum (ILTASS) 34 , or with a multi-talker noise recording from a party. The results for the three SNRs tested are shown in Fig.  1 .

figure 1

SI-SDRs for the tactile vocoded signal for speech in either the stationary speech-shaped (ILTASS) noise (left panel) or multi-talker party noise (right panel). SI-SDR scores are shown with no noise reduction (blue), with the log-MMSE method (orange), as well as with the causal (green), quasi-causal (red), and non-causal (purple) DPRNN methods. Performance is shown for three SNRs. The mean and median values are illustrated by a cross and a solid line, respectively, while the top and bottom edges of the box show the upper (0.75) and lower (0.25) quartile. Outliers (values of more than 1.5 times the interquartile range) are shown as filled diamonds.

A repeated-measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) was performed on the SI-SDRs for the tactile vocoded speech in noise, with the factors: SNR (− 2.5, 2.5, or 7.5 dB), talker (male or female), noise reduction method (log MMSE, causal DPRNN, quasi-causal DPRNN, or non-causal DPRNN), and noise type (stationary or multi-talker). No overall effect of talker was found ( F (1,59) = 0.7, p  = 0.400), but there were highly significant effects of SNR ( F (2,118) = 992.9, p  < 0.001), noise reduction method ( F (3,177) = 2077.3, p  < 0.001), and noise type ( F (1,59) = 692.4, p  < 0.001). Significant interactions were found between talker and method ( F (3,177) = 10.7, p  < 0.001), talker and noise type ( F (1,59) = 38.38, p  < 0.001), method and noise type ( F (3,177) = 819.0, p  < 0.001), method and SNR ( F (6,354) = 48.8, p  =  < 0.001), and noise type and SNR ( F (2,118) = 20.4, p  < 0.001). No interaction was found between talker and SNR ( F (2,118) = 2.1, p  = 0.133). Three-way interactions were found between talker, noise reduction method, and noise type ( F (3,117) = 13.1, p  < 0.001), between noise reduction method, noise type, and SNR ( F (6,354) = 216.7, p  < 0.001), and between talker, noise type, and SNR ( F (2,118) = 8.7, p  < 0.001). No significant interaction was found between talker, noise reduction method, and SNR ( F (6,354) = 1.4, p  = 0.218). A four-way interaction between all factors was found ( F (6,354) = 10.9, p  < 0.001).

Planned post-hoc t -tests (corrected for multiple comparisons; see “ Methods ”) were conducted to assess the effectiveness of each noise reduction method. Statistical tests were only performed for SNRs of 2.5 dB, which were also used in behavioural testing. Compared to no noise reduction, the quasi-causal DPRNN method improved the SI-SDR by 4.6 dB on average for the stationary noise (ranging from 0.8 to 7.1 dB across sentences; standard deviation (SD): 1.4 dB; t (59) = 24.7, p  < 0.001) and by 8.6 dB for the multi-talker noise (ranging from 6.0 to 12.0 dB; SD: 1.3 dB; t (59) = 49.9, p  < 0.001). The causal DPRNN method improved the SI-SDR by 2.6 dB for the stationary noise (ranging from 1.1 to 4.0 dB; SD: 0.7 dB; t (59) = 30.1, p  < 0.001) and by 5.1 dB for the multi-talker noise (ranging from 2.7 to 8.1 dB; SD: 1.0 dB; t (59) = 38.2, p  < 0.001). With the non-causal DPRNN, the SI-SDR was improved by 5.6 dB for the stationary noise (ranging from 2.6 to 10.0 dB; SD: 1.6 dB; t (59) = 32.5, p  < 0.001) and by 11.1 dB for the multi-talker noise (ranging from 8.4 to 14.5 dB; SD: 1.3 dB; t (59) = 66.3, p  < 0.001). Finally, the log-MMSE method improved the SI-SDR by 1.7 dB for the stationary noise (ranging from -0.3 to 3.5 dB; SD: 0.8 dB; t (59) = 16.7, p  < 0.001) and by 1.1 dB for the multi-talker noise (ranging from 0.0 to 2.6 dB; SD: 0.6 dB; t (59) = 14.8, p  < 0.001).

Next, the effectiveness of the quasi-casual DPRNN method was compared between the male and female talkers. A significant difference in SI-SDR was found both with the stationary noise ( t (59) = 0.8, p  = 0.417) and multi-talker noise ( t (59) =  − 4.2, p  < 0.001). With the stationary noise, the quasi-casual DPRNN improved the SI-SDR by 4.7 dB for the male talker (ranging from 0.0 to 10.4 dB; SD: 2.0 dB) and by 4.4 dB for the female talker (ranging from − 0.4 to 8.8 dB; SD: 2.0 dB). The SI-SDR for the male talker was 0.29 dB better with the stationary noise on average (ranging from − 6.1 to 7.4 dB; SD: 2.8 dB). For the multi-talker noise, the quasi-casual DPRNN improved the SI-SDR by 8.0 dB for the male talker (ranging from 5.0 to 13.1 dB; SD: 1.9 dB) and by 9.2 dB for the female talker (ranging from − 5.7 to 12.2 dB; SD: 1.6 dB). In contrast to the stationary noise, the performance for the female talker with the multi-talker noise was 1.3 dB better on average than the male (ranging from − 5.3 to 6.2 dB; SD: 2.3 dB).

Next, the effectiveness of the quasi-causal DPRNN was compared to the other DPRNN methods and to the traditional log-MMSE method. For the stationary noise, the quasi-causal DPRNN performed better than log-MMSE by 2.9 dB SI-SDR (ranging from 0.4 to 4.8 dB; SD: 1.0 dB; t (59) = 22.9, p  < 0.001) and better than the causal DPRNN by 1.9 dB (ranging from − 0.5 to 4.3 dB; SD: 1.0 dB; t (59) = 14.7, p  < 0.001). The SI-SDR for the non-causal DPRNN was 2.0 dB better than for the quasi-causal DPRNN (ranging from 0.1 to 4.3 dB; SD: 0.8 dB; t (59) = 20.0, p  < 0.001). For the multi-talker noise, the quasi-causal DPRNN performed better than log MMSE by 7.6 dB SI-SDR (ranging from 5.1 to 10.8 dB; SD: 1.3 dB; t (59) = 46.4, p  < 0.001) and better than the causal DPRNN by 3.5 dB SI-SDR (ranging from 1.7 to 5.0 dB; SD: 0.7 dB; t (59) = 39.9, p  < 0.001). The SI-SDR for the non-causal DPRNN was 2.5 dB better than for the quasi-causal DPRNN (ranging from 1.3 to 3.9 dB; SD: 0.6 dB; t (59) = 32.9, p  < 0.001).

Finally, the SI-SDR for the quasi-causal DPRNN was assessed for speech in quiet to establish whether it caused appreciable distortion of speech in quiet. For the male talker, the mean SI-SDR in quiet with the DPRNN was 73.8 dB (SD: 3.2 dB; ranging from 57.5 to 78.2 dB). For the female talker, the mean SI-SDR in quiet was 73.7 dB (SD: 1.9 dB; ranging from 70.2 to 77.8 dB).

In the second stage of the objective assessment, the effectiveness of each noise reduction method was assessed using the audio signals, without processing through the tactile vocoder. This allows the current quasi-causal DRPNN to be compared more easily with previous studies. Figure  2 shows eSTOI scores and SI-SDRs for speech in noise compared to time-aligned clean speech. At all SNRs, higher average scores were found for the quasi-causal DPRNN compared to no processing. With the stationary noise, SI-SDRs were 10.6, 10.7, and 9.8 dB higher for SNRs of − 2.5, 2.5, and 7.5 dB, respectively, and eSTOI scores were 0.18, 0.23, and 0.19 higher. With the multi-talker noise, SI-SDR scores were 9.4, 10.2, and 9.5 dB higher and eSTOI scores were 0.18, 0.23, and 0.19 higher.

figure 2

eSTOI scores (left panels) and SI-SDRs (right panels) for the audio signals (without tactile vocoding), with speech in either the stationary ILTASS (upper panels) or multi-talker party (lower panels) noise. SI-SDRs and eSTOI scores are shown with no noise reduction, with the log-MMSE method, and with the three DPRNN methods. As in Fig.  1 , the box plots show the median, quartiles, and outliers.

The quasi-causal DPRNN produced higher scores than the traditional log-MMSE method for both the stationary and multi-talker noises. For the stationary noise, SI-SDRs across SNRs were 4.4, 3.8, and 3.3 dB better, respectively, and eSTOI scores were 0.13, 0.16, and 0.12 better. For the multi-talker noise, SI-SDRs across SNRs were 6.8, 6.0, and 5.0 dB better and eSTOI scores were 0.16, 0.20, and 0.16 better. The quasi-causal DPRNN also produced higher scores than the causal DRPNN for both noise types. For the stationary noise, SI-SDRs were 4.0, 3.5, and 3.5 dB higher and eSTOI scores were 0.08, 0.08, and 0.06 higher. For the multi-talker noise, SI-SDRs were 3.3, 3.5, and 3.6 dB higher and eSTOI scores were 0.07, 0.08, and 0.06 higher. Finally, the quasi-casual DPRNN produced lower scores than the non-causal DPRNN for both noise types. For the stationary noise, SI-SDRs were 2.7, 2.2, and 1.9 dB lower and eSTOI scores 0.09, 0.07, and 0.05 lower. For the multi-talker noise, SI-SDRs were 2.9, 2.2, and 2.0 dB lower and eSTOI scores 0.10, 0.06, and 0.04 lower.

Behavioural assessment

The percentage of sentences correctly identified in each condition for the 16 participants who took part in the study is shown in Fig.  3 . In behavioural testing, the noise reduction was always the quasi-causal DPRNN, and noise was always the multi-talker noise at an SNR of 2.5 dB. The primary analysis of the behavioural data was an RM-ANOVA, with the factors: talker gender (male or female), noise (with or without), and noise reduction (with or without). A significant overall effect of noise ( F (1,15) = 77.0, p  < 0.001) and of noise reduction ( F (1,15) = 7.1, p  = 0.018) was found, as well as a significant interaction between noise and noise reduction ( F (1,15) = 15.8, p  = 0.001). No main effect of talker gender ( F (1,15) = 1.5, p  = 0.238) and no interaction between talker gender and any other factor was observed (noise: F (1,15) = 1.1, p  = 0.311; noise reduction: F (1,15) = 0.8, p  = 0.780; noise and noise reduction: F (1,15) = 0.1, p  = 0.711).

figure 3

Percentage of sentences correctly identified with and without the quasi-causal DPRNN noise reduction (NR) and with (light red) and without (dark blue) multi-talker (party) background noise at 2.5 dB SNR. Results are shown in box plots, with the horizontal line inside the box showing the median and the top and bottom edges of the box showing the upper (0.75) and lower (0.25) quartile, like in Fig.  1 . Outliers (values of more than 1.5 times the interquartile range) are shown as unfilled circles. The whiskers connect the upper and lower quartiles to the maximum and minimum non-outlier value. The dashed grey line shows chance performance.

Six planned t -tests were then run, with multiple comparisons correction applied (see “ Methods ”). These first established that the noise significantly reduced sentence recognition without noise reduction ( t (15) = 7.4, p  < 0.001). Performance reduced by 15.6% (ranging from 25.8 to 0%; standard deviation (SD): 8.5%), from 66.2% in quiet (ranging from 53.3 to 79.2%; SD: 7.9%) to 50.6% in noise (ranging from 45 to 57.5%; SD: 4.2%). Noise reduction improved performance in noise by 8.2% on average (ranging from − 10 to 25%; SD: 7.7%; t (15) = 4.3, p  = 0.003), with performance increasing to 58.8% (ranging from 47.5 to 79.2%; SD: 7.7%). Performance in noise with noise reduction was worse than performance in quiet without noise reduction by 7.5% (ranging from − 3.3 to 16.7%; SD: 5.2%; t (15) = 5.7, p  =  < 0.001). In quiet, no significant change in performance with noise reduction was found (mean reduction in performance of 1.9%; t (15) = 1.3, p  = 0.668).

No difference in the benefit of noise reduction was found across the male and female talkers ( t (15) = 0.4, p  > 1). Noise reduction improved performance in noise by 7.5% for the male talker (ranging from − 18.3 to 21.7%; SD: 10.8%) and by 8.9% for the female talker (ranging from − 6.7 to 33.3%; SD: 9.9%). There was also no difference found between the talkers in the effect of noise reduction in quiet ( t (15) = 0.1, p  > 1), with average performance worse with noise reduction by 1.8% for the male talker (ranging from a 16.7% reduction to a 10.0% benefit; SD: 8.4%) and by 2.1% for the female talker (ranging from a 15.0% reduction to a 5.0% benefit; SD: 6.3%).

The results can also be broken down into sentence subgroups, consisting of pairs of sentences that are matched for the number of syllables, pairs with the number of syllables differing by one, and pairs with the number of syllables differing by two. For the matched sentences, the mean scores in quiet with and without noise reduction were 59.2% (ranging from 40.0 to 77.5%; SD: 8.7%) and 61.9% (ranging from 37.5 to 75.0%; SD: 10.7%), respectively. In noise, the mean scores with and without noise reduction were 57.3% (ranging from 45.0 to 77.5%; SD: 9.1%) and 50.9% (ranging from 42.5 to 62.5%; SD: 7.4%), respectively. For sentences with the number of syllables differing by one, the mean scores in quiet with and without noise reduction were 67.7% (ranging from 57.5 to 82.5%; SD: 7.5%) and 70.0% (ranging from 55.0 to 80.0%; SD: 7.4%), respectively, and, in noise, were 59.7% (ranging from 37.5 to 75.0%; SD: 10.4%) and 46.7% (ranging from 40.0 to 57.5%; SD: 4.7%). For sentences with the number of syllables differing by two, the mean scores in quiet with and without noise reduction were 65.9% (ranging from 45.0 to 82.5%; SD: 11.7%) and 66.7% (ranging from 50.0 to 92.5%; SD: 11.8%), and, in noise, were 59.2% (ranging from 40.0 to 85.0%; SD: 11.9%) and 54.1% (ranging from 45.0 to 67.5%; SD: 7.0%).

Finally, exploratory post-hoc correlation analyses were run (see “ Methods ”). These assessed the relationship between either participant age or vibro-tactile detection thresholds and either sentence identification scores in quiet without noise reduction or the improvement in sentence identification scores in noise with noise reduction. No evidence of a correlation between vibro-tactile detection thresholds and sentence identification was found (in quiet: r  = 0.13, p  = 0.632; benefit of noise reduction: r  = 0.10, p  = 0.713). There was also no clear evidence of a correlation between age and sentence identification in quiet ( r  = 0.37, p  = 0.161). There was a trend for older participants to get more benefit of noise reduction, but this correlation between age and benefit did not reach significance ( r  = 0.47, p  = 0.067).

The objective assessment for tactile speech-in-noise showed that the quasi-causal DPRNN noise reduction method substantially outperforms traditional noise reduction methods, both for stationary and multi-talker background noises. As expected, the largest gains were found for multi-talker background noise (7.6 dB SI-SDR compared to 2.9 dB SI-SDR at an SNR of 2.5 dB), where traditional methods are known to particularly struggle. Behavioural testing confirmed that the effectiveness of the quasi-causal DPRNN shown in the objective assessment translates to a substantial improvement in tactile sentence identification, without impairing performance for speech in quiet. The quasi-causal DPRNN improved behavioural speech-in-noise scores by 8.2%, which amounted to a recovery of around half of the performance that was lost when noise was added. The acoustic characteristics of the multi-talker noise and the SNR of 2.5 dB are representative of scenarios in which people with hearing loss commonly struggle in their everyday lives. The improved noise-robustness with the real-time-feasible quasi-causal DPRNN could dramatically increase the utility of haptic hearing aids, both when used as stand-alone sensory substitution devices and when used for sensory augmentation with CIs and other hearing-assistive devices.

A small difference in the performance of the quasi-causal DPRNN between the male and female talkers was observed in objective testing. However, this did not translate to a measurable difference in behavioural performance. The talkers used for testing were not included in the training set and varied substantially in their acoustic properties (see “ Methods ”). The small objective difference in performance between talkers can likely be reduced by using a training corpus with a more diverse set of talkers 35 . However, the finding of only small objective differences, and no behavioural difference, suggests the current quasi-causal DPRNN would generalise well to other talkers.

The causal, quasi-causal, and non-causal DPRNN methods all markedly improved both SI-SDR and eSTOI scores in the audio domain, for both noises tested. As expected, better performance was observed when more future information was included, with performance increasing between causal and quasi-causal processing and between quasi-causal and non-causal processing. The traditional log-MMSE method produced the smallest improvement in objective scores, with negligible improvements for the multi-talker (party) noise. It is therefore thought unlikely that log-MMSE would have yielded any improvement in behavioural tactile speech-in-noise performance. The current results are in line with previous studies showing that the DPRNN and other deep-learning-based noise reduction methods can improve objective speech intelligibility outcomes in both non-stationary and stationary noise 17 , 18 , 21 . In contrast, traditional noise reduction methods fail to achieve significant improvements in non-stationary conditions and only provide small benefits in stationary noise 16 . The average improvements in eSTOI scores of around 0.2 with the DPRNN methods was comparable or better than found previously 36 , although direct comparisons of the objective scores to previous work are difficult because different stimuli were used for evaluation.

The objective results differed somewhat for the tactile domain compared to the audio domain. While consistent benefits in SI-SDR scores for the multi-talker noise were observed in the audio domain for log MMSE, these were largely absent in the tactile domain. For the DPRNN methods, the pattern of SI-SDR improvements was consistent between audio and tactile domains. However, in the tactile domain, SI-SDR results were compressed into a smaller overall range, reducing any differences between methods. This may be explained by tactile vocoding lessening the differences between signals, by reducing them to only eight frequency bands and applying low-pass filtering. Further work is required to determine whether SI-SDR is an effective predictor of tactile speech recognition in noise. Further work might also assess whether objective and behavioural equivalents of speech quality (e.g., the perceptual of evaluation of speech quality (PESQ) metric 37 ), can also be established for tactile speech.

While behavioural performance in background noise was substantially improved by the quasi-causal DPRNN, it was unable to fully recover performance to match that in quiet. There are several possible reasons for this. Figure  4 shows the amplitude envelopes from the tactile vocoder used in the current experiment for one of the sentences tested. Envelopes are shown with and without the multi-talker background noise and both with and without the quasi-causal DPRNN. By comparing the clean speech without the DPRNN (top left panel) to the speech in noise with the DPRNN (bottom right panel), it can be observed that, while strong noise rejection was achieved, some artefacts remained (for example, before the start of the sentence in channel 8, which is highlighted with blue circles). These artefacts may have acted as distractors that increased temporal uncertainty 38 , 39 , 40 and disrupted estimation of key speech landmarks, such as sentence, syllable, and phoneme start and end points. Another subtler difference between the clean envelopes and the envelopes with the DPRNN is the smoothing of some envelope modulations. An example can be seen in channel 2 for the words “…in a…” (highlighted with red circles). This smoothing might reduce the salience of speech segments, particularly for speech tokens in which rapid envelope changes signal phoneme identity (plosive consonants) or aid speech segmentation.

figure 4

Amplitude envelopes extracted from each of the eight frequency bands for the audio-to-tactile vocoder method used in objective and behavioural testing. Band 1 represents the lowest frequency band and band 8 represents the highest frequency band. Clean speech (top panels) and speech in noise (bottom panels) are shown both with (right panels) and without (left panels) the quasi-causal DPRNN. The speech is the sentence, “if you’re in a noisy hall”, spoken by the female talker used for testing in the current experiment. This was selected to be a representative example of both the successes and failures of the quasi-causal DPRNN. The noise was the multi-talker party noise used in the current experiment. The blue circles highlight an example of noise contamination after processing with the quasi-causal DPRNN, and the red circles highlight smearing of the amplitude envelope. Envelope amplitudes are in linear units and are normalised to the maximum amplitude in each panel.

Noise reduction methods balance removal of background noise and distortion of the speech signal 41 . For practical applications, speech distortions can be mitigated by limiting the aggressiveness of the noise-reduction processing, for example by mixing the DPRNN output signal with the original speech-in-noise signal. The optimal balance usually depends on several factors that differ between users, including the acoustic challenges typically faced (e.g., the SNR and the character of the background noise) and the amount of speech distortion that the user can tolerate. Data on user characteristics is currently lacking for haptic hearing aids, and further work is required to establish the optimal balance of noise rejection and speech distortion.

Some of the factors that impaired performance in noise may have had reduced impact or been overcome entirely if participants had received training with tactile speech. Previous studies both with tactile sensory substitution for speech in quiet 11 and sensory augmentation for speech in noise 3 , 4 , 7 have shown that training significantly improves performance. This improved ability to extract speech information from tactile stimulation might improve robustness to noise artefacts. This suggestion is supported by hearing studies, which have shown that training can reduce the impact of masking sounds 42 , 43 . Future work should establish the importance of training when assessing noise reduction methods for tactile speech, particularly in allowing users to reject artefacts.

Experiential factors other than direct tactile speech training might also be important predictors of tactile speech performance. For example, indirect training to extract auditory information from vibration, when using a tool or a musical instrument, might generalise to tactile speech. A previous study highlighted the case of a participant who, before they received their CI, had learned to play the flute by feeling its vibrations 3 . It was speculated that this may have contributed to the participant’s unusually large improvement in speech-in-noise performance with haptic stimulation even before receiving tactile speech training. Further investigation is required to establish whether such factors are predictive of tactile speech performance.

A major challenge for noise reduction methods is the selection of the appropriate talker in a multi-talker scene, particularly when the target and a competing talker have a similar intensity. In the current study, competing speech was well below the level of the target speech, meaning there was little ambiguity as to which talker should be targeted by the DPRNN. One method for improving the ability of hearing aids to target the talker of interest in challenging multi-talker scenarios is directional filtering through beamforming, which typically assumes that the user is facing the sound source of interest. Recently, more advanced methods have been used to determine the sound source of interest, such as eye gaze tracking, though so far with limited success (e.g., 44 ). Further work is required to characterise the performance of the quasi-causal DPRNN under conditions with high target-talker ambiguity, and the effects of methods, such as beamforming or target speech extraction 45 , on DPRNN performance.

The quasi-causal DPRNN might be further optimized for tactile speech to improve noise robustness and reduce computational complexity. One optimisation might be to place the DPRNN later in the tactile signal-processing chain. In the current study, the DPRNN was used as front-end noise reduction, being applied to the audio before the tactile vocoder. Future studies could explore whether, for example, the DPRNN is more effective and efficient if processing only the audio from the eight tactile vocoder audio filter bands, which are designed to focus on frequencies most important to speech perception. Alternatively, the DPRNN could be trained specifically to extract the clean tactile speech envelopes from noise, rather than the clean audio. This would allow the speech synthesis (decoder) stage of the DPRNN algorithm to be removed and therefore for the computational complexity and processing latency to be reduced. Furthermore, the much smaller spectral resolution of the tactile signals (eight channels in the current study) compared to the spectral resolution of acoustic audio may allow a substantial reduction in the complexity of the other DPRNN stages, without compromising performance. Finally, power efficiency might be optimised by selectively activating the DPRNN only when background noise is detected. There are several existing environmental classification algorithms that could be used to achieve this (e.g., 33 ).

Another approach to improving the effectiveness of the DPRNN might be to provide it with multiple microphone signals, rather than single-channel audio. In previous work, the audio received at microphones behind each ear was converted to haptic stimulation on each wrist so that spatial hearing cues could be exploited through haptics. This has been shown to improve sound localisation 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 and speech recognition for spatially-separated speech and noise in CI users 9 . The improvements in speech-in-noise performance were likely achieved, at least in part, through access to better speech information from the ear with the best SNR. In future iterations of the DPRNN, this “better-ear-listening”, or more advanced multi-microphone noise-reduction methods (e.g., 50 , 51 ) could be exploited.

There are important limitations to the current study that should be noted. Firstly, a new tactile sentence identification task was used, with a forced-choice method deployed to avoid floor effects and circumvent the need for prolonged tactile speech training. Unlike some previous methods for assessing tactile speech performance, which focus on phonemes 10 , 14 or words 11 , this method was intended to allow the use of a range of key speech processing factors. These include segmentation and recognition of phonemes and words in running speech and integration of sensory and higher-level (e.g., top-down) processing. Improved ability to discern sentences in background noise is expected to strongly predict whether haptic stimulation can work effectively, either when delivered alone or when supplementing lip reading or a degraded acoustic signal (e.g., through a CI). However, further work is required to conclusively establish this.

Another limitation was that participants in the current study had no known hearing loss, unlike the target user group for haptic hearing aids, which consists primarily of CI users and those with a profound hearing loss who can’t access CI technology. Previous studies have found no difference in tactile speech performance in quiet 10 , 12 , 14 , 52 or in background noise 3 , 4 , 9 between those with and without hearing loss. However, there is evidence that tactile sensitivity might be higher in those with congenital deafness 53 . This might mean that the current results underestimate performance for some groups of people with hearing loss.

The participant group also did not cover the full age range of the target user group. Previous studies have found no relationship between age and tactile speech performance 3 , 4 , 9 , 10 , 14 and, in the current study, there was also no evidence of a correlation between age (which spanned 19 years) and tactile speech performance in quiet. The current study found weak evidence that older users might perform better when extracting speech from background noise, but this result needs to be replicated in a larger study to become compelling. While previous work has found no worsening with age of either temporal gap detection 54 or intensity discrimination 48 , 55 for vibro-tactile tones, detection thresholds are known to worsen with age 56 . This may mean that adjusting the dynamic range of tactile stimulation to take account of differences in sensitivity will be important for maximizing the effectiveness of haptic hearing aids.

In addition to age, demographic factors such as the duration of deafness might be important predictors of tactile speech performance (see Fletcher 57 and Fletcher and Verschuur 5 for extended discussion). The success of haptic hearing aids is likely to be heavily determined by the ability of users to integrate tactile speech information with speech information gathered through lip reading and through any acoustic or electrical hearing. There is evidence that this integration differs across groups. For example, CI users who are implanted after several years of deafness have been found to integrate audio and visual information less effectively than those who are implanted early 58 , 59 , 60 . This may mean that those implanted early will benefit more from haptic hearing aids. Another important factor might be the visual acuity of the user. Vision is thought to calibrate auditory responses 61 and to guide auditory perceptual learning 62 , and could play a similar role for tactile speech. Further work is required to establish the groups that can benefit most from haptic hearing aids.

The current study showed that a real-time-feasible quasi-causal DPRNN noise reduction method can substantially improve tactile sentence identification in noise, while not impairing performance in quiet. The greater design space available for haptic hearing aids (and therefore capacity to use larger, more powerful microprocessors) compared to other hearing-assistive devices makes deployment of advanced noise-reduction methods, such as the DPRNN, more viable. The quasi-causal DPRNN could dramatically increase the effectiveness of haptic hearing aids both when used for sensory augmentation alongside devices such as CIs and when used to aid the many millions of people around the world who cannot access CI technology.


Table 1 shows the characteristics of the 16 adults who completed the behavioural experiment. There were 6 males and 10 females, with an average age of 24 years (ranging from 18 to 37 years). Participants all had normal touch perception, which was assessed through a screening questionnaire and by measuring vibro-tactile detection thresholds at the fingertip (see “ Procedure ”). All participants had British English as their first language and reported no hearing problems. Participants were each paid an inconvenience allowance of £20 for taking part.

Test material

The tactile stimulus in the experiment phase (after screening), was generated using the EHS Research Group Sentence Corpus. This contained 83 sentences, each spoken by both a British English male and British English female talker. The sentences were taken from readings (connected discourse) of a public engagement article written in a semi-conservational style 63 . They contained a range of natural variations in prosodic pattern, speaking rate, pitch, and phoneme pronunciation.

The long-term spectrum for each talker is shown in Fig.  5 . The male talker had an average fundamental frequency of 147.9 Hz (ranging from 80.5 to 220.7 Hz; SD: 19.0 Hz) and the female talker had an average fundamental frequency of 205.5 Hz (ranging from 108.2 to 285.7 Hz; SD: 31.4 Hz). The fundamental frequency (estimated using a Normalized Correlation Function) and the harmonic ratio (the ratio of the energy at the fundamental frequency to the total energy) were determined using the MATLAB “audioFeatureExtractor” object (MATLAB R2022b). A 300-ms Hamming window was used, with a 30-ms overlap length. Samples were included in the analysis if their harmonic ratio was greater than 0.8.

figure 5

The long-term average spectrum of the male and female talker from the EHS Research Group Sentence Corpus, with no normalisation applied. The spectrum was calculated from the average power spectral density (Hann windowed, with a 96 kHz sample rate, an FFT length of 4096, and a hop size of 2048). The average power spectral density was Gaussian-smoothed with a 1/3 octave resolution.

The EHS Research Group Sentence Corpus was recorded in an anechoic chamber at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (UK). The audio was recorded using a Rode M5 microphone and RME Fireface UC soundcard (with a 96 kHz sample rate and a bit depth of 24 bits). The microphone was 0.2 m from the talker’s mouth.

A subset of 60 sentences from the EHS Research Group Sentence Corpus were used in the behavioural and objective assessments (see “Table 2 ”). Each of the 60 sentences were spoken by both the male and female talker so that there were 120 speech samples in total. The cross section of sentences had a range of total durations and contained a variety of prosodic patterns with different pitch contours, phoneme inventories, syllable numbers, and rates. The sentences were grouped in pairs, with 10 of the pairs having the same number of syllables, 10 of the pairs differing by 1 syllable, and 10 of the pairs differing by 2 syllables. The pairs were intended to span a wide range of difficulties determined by a range of factors. For example, the sentences “They keep on getting better and better” and “Together with a team of researchers” do not differ in syllable count, have a similarly high proportion of obstruent phonemes, and have a very similar total duration (durations differ by 100 ms or less). In contrast, the sentences “That people can wear outside the lab” and “This is one of the main ways your brain works out”, have a different number of syllables, a different number of nasal sounds, and a relatively large difference in total duration (a 600-ms difference for the female talker and a 400-ms difference for the male talker).

In behavioural testing, the conditions with background noise used a non-stationary multi-talker recording from a party that was made by the Australian National Acoustic Laboratory 64 . The noise sample has a long-term spectrum that matches the international long-term average speech spectrum (ILTASS) 34 . This noise was selected to reproduce real-world challenges that haptic hearing aid users would face, including the typical fluctuations and modulations due to background speech and other non-stationary sounds. In objective testing, an additional stationary noise was used, which was filtered so that its long-term spectrum matched the ILTASS. The stationary ILTASS noise served as a comparison condition, with maximal energetic masking, that is widely used in speech perception studies. It should be noted that the DPRNN was exclusively trained with recordings of realistic background noises and not with similar artificially generated noises.

For the behavioural speech-in-noise conditions, the speech and noise signals were mixed with a 2.5 dB SNR. In the objective assessment, SNRs of − 2.5 and 7.5 dB were additionally tested. Importantly, the RMS level of the speech was calculated with silences removed (though note that silences were not removed from the stimulus for presentation). Silent sections were identified by extracting the speech amplitude envelope using a Hilbert transform and a zero-phase 6th-order Butterworth low-pass filter, with a cut-off frequency of 23 Hz. Sections of the speech where the amplitude envelope dropped below 10% of the maximum were removed for the RMS level calculation. This meant that SNR setting in the current study was lower than for comparable studies where the silences were not removed for the SNR calculation. For the EHS Research Group Sentence Corpus, the 2.5 dB SNR was 2.6 dB lower on average when silences were removed than when they were not (ranging across sentences from 0.9 to 4.7 dB lower; SD: 0.7 dB). For the more naturalistic speech material used in the current study—which contains a variety of prosodic characteristics, with differing syllabic stress patterns, speaking rate and overall modulation characteristics – silence-stripping was deemed important to achieving a stable SNR across sentences.

On each trial, the masker duration was set to have a randomly selected gap of between 500 and 1500 ms before and after the longest speech stimulus of the sentence pair. This was done to exclude the possibility that participants could learn when the sentence onset or offset would be and use total duration cues without detecting the speech signal. If the speech was the shorter sentence of the pair, it was located within the masker at a random point within the time window for the longer sentence. The speech and noise samples were ramped on and off with a 50-ms raised-cosine ramp. A new randomly selected section of the full noise sample was used in each trial. The audio generated for behavioural testing was also used in the objective assessment.

Noise-reduction methods

In both behavioural and objective testing, the audio was first downsampled to 16 kHz for conversion from audio to haptic stimulation. This matches the typical sample rate available in compact wearable audio devices, such as CIs and hearing aids. In the behavioural assessment, only the quasi-causal DPRNN noise-reduction method was tested. For conditions with the quasi-causal DPRNN applied, the audio was first processed with the DPRNN algorithm, before being converted to tactile stimulation using the tactile vocoder (see following section).

The DPRNN consisted of an end-to-end time-domain Audio Separation Network (TasNet) with three stages (see Fig.  6 ). In the first stage, a learned encoder block transformed the time-domain audio frames into a 2D feature space (similar to a time–frequency representation). The next stage consisted of a masking network, which processed consecutive chunks within the latent feature space to estimate a noise-reduction mask. This mask was then applied to the noisy input speech representation to remove the background noise and to produce the enhanced speech signal. The final stage consisted of a learned decoder block, which transformed the enhanced speech signal back into a time-domain audio output signal.

figure 6

Schematic representation of the quasi-causal dual-path recurrent neural network (DPRNN), with layer descriptors: LSTM for long-short term memory, Bi-LSTM for bidirectional LSTM and cLN for channel-wise layer normalization.

For the encoder and decoder blocks, the DPRNN algorithm used 1D-convolutional layers. The 1-D convolution layer (CONV1D) transformed a single-channel audio waveform (1-D) into 128 channels. This was achieved by individually convolving 128 filter kernels with the input waveform, using a kernel size of 16 (1 ms) and a stride of 4 (0.25 ms) samples 22 . The masking network consisted of 6 blocks of the DPRNN. The DPRNN has two paths, one for processing information in the current chunk only, and one for processing information across chunks. The intra-chunk processing path used bi-directional LSTM layers, whereas the inter-chunk path used uni-directional LSTM layers.

The DPRNN algorithm was implemented using the publicly available Asteroid PyTorch toolkit 65 . The model was retrained for use in the current study with a large dataset of speech-in-noise stimuli comprising of speech utterances from the LibriSpeech corpus 66 and noise samples from the WHAM! stimulus set 67 at various SNRs (total of 360 h). The SNRs were sampled from a uniform distribution between − 6 and 10 dB, with 5% of the speech samples retained to ensure that performance for clean speech had not degraded. These speech and noise stimuli differed from those used during behavioural and objective testing of the DPRNN. The training made use of the Adam optimizer 68 and the scale-invariant signal-to-distortion ratio 69 as loss functions for a total of 200 epochs. The training of the DPRNN algorithm was performed on three NVIDIA A100 40GB Tensor Core graphics processing units.

In the objective assessment, alternative causal and non-causal DPRNN noise-reduction methods were tested in addition to the quasi-causal DPRNN, with different parameters and different use of future information. For the non-causal DPRNN, all LSTM units were bi-directional. The bottleneck and hidden dimensions were set to 128 units and global normalization layers were used. For the quasi-causal DPRNN, the chunks processed by the masking network consisted of 20 frames, which limited the use of future information to 5.75 ms to allow real-time processing to be feasible. The causal DPRNN used no future information. For both the quasi-causal and causal DPRNN, bottleneck and hidden dimensions were set to 256 units and channel-wise normalisation was used to ensure causal processing of information from the current chunk only. This configuration ensured that the DPRNN models had approximately the same number of parameters, allowing a fair comparison between methods. All models were trained on the same data and used the same training regime.

In addition to the DPRNN, the log-MMSE noise-reduction method was assessed 29 . The log-MMSE method is based on statistical modelling and is one of the most popular noise reduction methods for hearing-assistive devices. It was selected to represent traditional noise-reduction methods in the current study as it has been found to be among the best performing traditional approaches 30 . The audio was processed with the log-MMSE method using the MATLAB (2022b) implementation from Loizou 16 .

Tactile vocoder and vibro-tactile stimulation

Following downsampling to 16 kHz and, for some conditions, the application of noise reduction, the signal was converted to vibro-tactile stimulation using a tactile vocoder (following the method used previously by Fletcher, et al. 10 ). The audio was first passed through a 512th-order FIR filter bank with eight frequency bands, which were equally spaced on the auditory equivalent rectangular bandwidth scale 70 between 50 and 7000 Hz. Next, the amplitude envelope was extracted for each frequency band using a Hilbert transform and a zero-phase 6th order Butterworth low-pass filter, with a cut-off frequency of 23 Hz (targeting the envelope modulation frequencies most important for speech recognition 71 , 72 ). These amplitude envelopes were then used to modulate the amplitudes of eight fixed-phase vibro-tactile tonal carriers.

The eight tactile tones had frequencies of 94.5, 116.5, 141.5, 170, 202.5, 239, 280.5 and 327.5 Hz. These remained within the frequency range that can be reproduced by the latest compact haptic actuators and were spaced so as to be discriminable based on vibro-tactile frequency discrimination thresholds from the dorsal forearm 73 . A different gain was applied to each tone to make them equally detectable across frequency, based on previously measured tactile detection thresholds 10 , 74 . The gains were 13.8, 12.1, 9.9, 6.4, 1.6, 0, 1.7, and 4 dB, respectively. Tactile stimuli were scaled to have an equal RMS amplitude, with a nominal level of 1.2 G (141.5 dB ref. 10 −6  m/s 2 ). This intensity can be produced by a range of compact, low-powered haptic actuators that are suitable for a wearable device.

Throughout behavioural speech identification testing, pink noise was presented through headphones at a level of 60 dBA to ensure any auditory cues were masked. During familiarisation, there was no masking noise, and the speech audio was played through the headphones at 65 dBA.

During behavioural testing, participants sat in a vibration isolated, temperature-controlled room (mean temperature: 23 °C; SD: 0.45 °C). The room temperature and participant’s skin temperature were measured using a Digitron 2022T type K thermocouple thermometer, which was calibrated following ISO 806012-56:2017 75 using the method described in Fletcher, et al. 10 .

In screening, vibrotactile detection thresholds were measured with a HVLab Vibro-tactile Perception Meter 76 . The circular probe was 6 mm in diameter and contacted the skin through a circular hole in a rigid surround that had a 10 mm diameter. The probe gave a constant upward force of 1N. The downward force applied by the participant was measured using a force sensor built into the surround. This sensor was calibrated using Adam Equipment OIML calibration weights and the amount of force being applied was displayed to the participant. The Vibro-tactile Perception Meter output was calibrated using its built-in accelerometers (Quartz Shear ICP, model number: 353B43) and a Brüel & Kjær (B&K) Type 4294 calibration exciter. The system conformed to ISO-13091-1:2001 77 and the stimuli had a total harmonic distortion of less than 0.1%.

For the sentence identification task, the EHS Research Group haptic stimulation rig 10 was used (shown in Fig.  7 ). This consisted of a Ling Dynamic Systems V101 shaker suspended from an aluminium strut frame by an adjustable elastic cradle. The shaker had a downward facing circular probe with a 10-mm diameter, which contacted the participant’s dorsal wrist. A foam block with a thickness of 95 mm was placed below the shaker probe for participants to rest their forearm on. The probe applied a downward force of 1N, which was calibrated using a B&K UA-0247 spring balance. The shaker was driven using a MOTU UltralLite-mk5 sound card, RME QuadMic II preamplifier, and HVLab Tactile Vibrometer power amplifier. The vibration output was measured using a B&K 4533-B-001 accelerometer and calibrated using a B&K type 4294 calibration exciter. All stimuli had a total harmonic distortion of less than 0.1%.

figure 7

3D render of the EHS Research Group haptic stimulation rig, shown from the participant’s point of view, with the arm resting on a blue foam surface and the probe (attached to the shaker unit) contacting the centre of the dorsal wrist.

Masking noise in the experiment phase and speech audio in the familiarisation phase were played to the participant through Sennheiser HDA 300 headphones, driven by the MOTU UltralLite-mk5 sound card. The headphones were calibrated using a B&K G4 sound level meter with a B&K 4157 occluded ear coupler (Royston, Hertfordshire, UK). Sound level meter calibration checks were carried out using a B&K Type 4231 sound calibrator.

For each participant, the behavioural experiment was completed in a single session lasting approximately two hours. Participants first gave informed consent to take part in the study. They then completed a screening questionnaire, which ensured that they (1) had not had any injury or surgery on their hands or arms, (2) did not suffer from conditions that might affect their sense of touch, and (3) had not been exposed to intense or prolonged hand or arm vibration over the previous 24 h. Their self-reported hearing health was also recorded.

Following this, the participant’s skin temperature on the index fingertip of the dominant hand was measured. When the participant’s skin temperature was between 27 and 35 °C, their vibro-tactile detection thresholds were measured at the index fingertip following ISO 13091-1:2001 77 . During these measurements, participants applied a downward force of 2N, which was monitored by the participant and experimenter using the HVLab Vibro-tactile Perception Meter display. Participants were required to have touch perception thresholds in the normal range (< 0.4 m/s −2 RMS at 31.5 Hz and < 0.7 m/s −2 RMS at 125 Hz), conforming to ISO 13091‑2:2021 78 . The fingertip was used for screening as normative data was not available for the wrist. If all screening stages were passed, the participant’s wrist dimensions were measured at the position they would usually wear a wristwatch, and they proceeded to the experiment phase.

In the experiment phase, participants sat in front of the EHS Research Group haptic stimulation rig 10 . They placed their arm on the foam surface with the shaker probe contacting the centre of the dorsal wrist, at the position where they would normally wear a wristwatch. During the experiment phase, participants performed a two-alternative focused-choice sentence identification task, in which they were asked to select which of two alternative sentences had been presented through tactile stimulation. This was done using a custom-built MATLAB (2022b) app with three buttons, one that allowed the user to play the stimulus for the current trial, and two that displayed the sentence text alternatives for the current trial. The app also displayed the instruction: “Select the text that matches the sentence played through vibration”. When the play button was pressed, both the buttons displaying the sentence text for the alternative response options turned green for the duration of the stimulus. The sentence text buttons were only selectable after the stimulus had been played at least once.

Before testing began, participants completed familiarisation to ensure they understood the task. In this stage, English male and female speech was used that was different from that used in testing. The male talker was from the ARU speech corpus (ID: 02) 79 and the female was from the University of Salford speech corpus 80 . They each spoke four different sentences from the Harvard sentences set 81 . Sentences were only played without background noise and with no noise reduction applied. The participant was permitted to feel the sentence through tactile stimulation or to hear the sentence through the headphones (without tactile signal processing). There was no limit placed on the number of times these sentences could be repeated and the participant was encouraged to ask the experimenter questions if they were unsure of the task. Once the participants selected one of the sentences, all buttons became inactive for 500 ms. During this period, green text reading “Correct” was displayed if the response was correct, or red text reading “Incorrect” was displayed if the response was incorrect. Once the experimenter confirmed that the participant understood the task, they continued to the testing stage.

During testing, the participant performed the same task as in familiarisation, except that they could not opt to hear the audio stimulus, and the headphones played masking noise. Participants were also limited to a maximum of four repeats of the tactile stimulus per trial, after which the play button became inactive, and they were forced to select one of the two sentence text alternatives. During testing, participants were presented with each of the sentence pairs shown in Table 2 . The testing regime was designed to determine whether relevant acoustic contrasts in running speech could be accurately perceived via tactile stimulation, but to avoid floor effects due to the poor open-set intelligibility for tactile-only stimuli (without introducing extensive training or a larger number of sentence choices with high short-term memory load). All sentences were tested in all four experimental conditions once (in quiet and in background noise, both with and without the quasi-causal DPRNN). This meant that there was a total of 480 trials for each participant during the testing stage. The trial order was randomised for each participant, with a rule that the same sentence could not appear in consecutive trials.

The experimental protocol was approved by the University of Southampton Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Ethics Committee (ERGO ID: 68477). All research was performed in accordance with the relevant guidelines and regulations.

In the objective assessment, the effectiveness of the quasi-causal DPRNN was compared to a causal and non-causal DPRNN, as well as to the traditional log-MMSE method. In the first part of the assessment, after the envelopes were extracted using the tactile vocoder, the SI-SDR for speech in noise was calculated relative to the time-aligned envelopes for the clean speech signal (without noise reduction). The median score across the eight envelopes was taken for each of the 120 male and female sentences from the EHS Research Group Sentence Corpus. Analysis consisted of a four-way RM-ANOVA (see “ Results ”) followed by sixteen planned t -test, with Bonferroni-Holm multiple comparisons correction 82 applied. These compared (1) the SI-SDRs for each noise reduction method to a baseline condition with no noise reduction applied, (2) the improvement in the SI-SDR from baseline for the male and female talkers with the quasi-causal DPRNN, and (3) the improvement in the SI-SDR with the quasi-causal DRPNN (for both talkers together) and the improvement for the causal DPRRN, the non-causal DPRNN, and the log-MMSE method. Data were determined to be normally distributed based on visual inspection as well as Kolmogorov–Smirnov and Shapiro–Wilk tests.

In the second part of the assessment, SI-SDR and eSTOI scores were computed for each audio sample (without tactile vocoding). For this assessment, the unprocessed clean speech audio was used as the reference.

The percentage of correctly identified sentences was calculated for the male and female talkers in each condition. Primary analysis consisted of a three-way RM-ANOVA (see “ Results ”) and six two-tailed t -tests, with a Bonferroni-Holm multiple comparisons correction applied. The t -tests compared: (1) identification in quiet with and without noise reduction; (2) identification in noise with and without noise reduction; (3) identification in quiet without noise reduction and identification in noise with noise reduction; (4) identification in quiet and in noise, both without noise reduction; (5) the difference in identification in quiet with and without noise reduction for the male and female talkers; and (6) the difference in identification in noise with and without noise reduction for the male and female talkers. Data were determined to be normally distributed based on visual inspection and Kolmogorov–Smirnov and Shapiro–Wilk tests.

Following the primary analysis, exploratory secondary analysis was performed. These analyses were not corrected for multiple comparisons, as no effects were anticipated, following results from previous studies (e.g., 10 ).

Data availability

The datasets generated and analysed during the current study are available in the University of Southampton’s Research Data Management Repository at:  https://doi.org/10.5258/SOTON/D3018 .

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Thank you to Ezzy Akis for assisting participant recruitment, to Hannah Semeraro for her voice artist excellence, and to Alex, Josh, and Helen Fletcher for facilitating the writing of the text. Salary support for author M.D.F. was provided by the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service (UK) and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/W032422/1). Salary support for author S.W.P. was provided by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/T517859/1) and the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service. Author T.G. was supported by a Career Development Award from the UK Medical Research Council (MR/T03095X/1). The DPRNN used in the experiment was produced using the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki High Performance Computing Infrastructure and the computational infrastructure of the MRC-CBU, University of Cambridge.

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Mark D. Fletcher, Samuel W. Perry & Carl A. Verschuur

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Mark D. Fletcher & Samuel W. Perry

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece

Iordanis Thoidis

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 7EF, UK

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M.D.F., S.W.P., and T.G. designed the experiment; M.D.F., I.T., and T.G. implemented the experiment; and S.W.P. collected the data. M.D.F. performed the data analysis and drafted the manuscript text. All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript.

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Fletcher, M.D., Perry, S.W., Thoidis, I. et al. Improved tactile speech robustness to background noise with a dual-path recurrent neural network noise-reduction method. Sci Rep 14 , 7357 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-57312-7

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-57312-7

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how to make a introduction in speech

RFK Jr. picks running mate. What to know about philanthropist Nicole Shanahan

OAKLAND, California ‒ Lawyer and philanthropist Nicole Shanahan will be Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 's running mate in his long-shot bid for the U.S. presidency, the pair announced Tuesday.

Kennedy made the announcement at a campaign event in Oakland, her hometown.

About 500 people filled the floor of the Henry J. Kaiser Center for the Arts and more than 30,000 tuned into the livestream with many suggesting their favorite vice presidential picks, ranging from former U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) to New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

He said he liked her for her commitment to health and organic foods and "deep, inside knowledge" of how the technology industry uses artificial intelligence to manipulate the public and identify government abuses. He also wanted an athlete, he said, describing Shanahan as an avid surfer and a softball player in her youth. He wanted, he said, a gifted administrator, an inquiring mind, someone open to changing her opinions, who is spiritual, idealistic and "above all (someone with) a deep love for the United States of America."

In some ways, Shanahan was an odd choice. A registered Democrat, she has no political or executive experience and most of her philanthropic support has gone to mainstream science ‒ while Kennedy, who quit the Democratic party last fall, has made a national reputation dismissing the scientific findings of vaccine developers and public health experts.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

In other ways, though, the 38-year-old, makes a lot of sense. She has already donated more than $4 million to his campaign, including the lion's share of funding for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl .

The ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin and a long-time Silicon Valley resident, Shanahan has connections throughout the tech world. Kennedy has tried to cultivate support within the technology sector, including making an appearance at the SXSW conference in Austin earlier this month.

Kennedy said she understands better than either mainstream candidates the "promise and peril" of technology.

Choosing a running mate

Shanahan's youth and wealth may help Kennedy, who is 70 and a member of the closest Americans come to having a political royal family. But really, several political scientists said, his choice of a running mate, isn't all that significant.

"The chances of this person becoming vice president are close to zero," said Peter Ubertaccio, a professor of political scence and vice president for academic affairs at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. No third-party candidate has won the U.S. presidency in well over a century .

"The nomination of Ms. Shanahan will make no difference whatsoever in Kennedy's bid," added Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor emeritus at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. "People don't vote for vice president. They vote for president."

But the choice of running mate is the first significant decision a presidential candidate has to make and therefore reflects on them, said Christopher Devine, an associate professor of political science at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

Voters want to see a vice presidential candidate they could imagine in the White House, said Devine, co-author of of the book " Do Running Mates Matter? " "There's good evidence that when people see a VP pick who is not instantly a credible vice president they question a presidential candidate's judgement and they're less likely to vote for that person."

Devine said the selection of Shanahan was not a good look for Kennedy. "This is not the kind of move you would make if you truly anticipated becoming the next president of the United States," he said.

Someone like Kennedy who lacks any governing experience would be expected to choose a running mate with some expertise in foreign policy or negotiating with Congress, he said. Even Donald Trump , who famously had no political experience in 2016 when he ran for president the first time, chose Mike Pence as his running mate ‒ a former Congressman and Indiana governor.

The main reason to choose Shanahan, Devine said, seems to be for her money. As a running mate, she is not limited by campaign contribution limits.

How they're selected: What we know now about choosing a running mate and its impact on voters

It may help Shanahan to be a VP candidate, Berry said, if she has political ambitions in her home state of California, but probably won't raise her national profile much, unless she's willing to fund a major national tour for herself in addition to Kennedy, complete with an advance team and communications people.

Nicole Shanahan's personal life

Shanahan, who declined several requests from USA TODAY for an interview, is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant mother and a father of German-Irish descent who suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In a video and a half-hour speech, she mentioned her difficult childhood, growing up in Oakland. Her family depended on welfare for a time, living "one misfortune away from disaster," as her father's struggles repeatedly cost him jobs.

In her junior year of high school, she traveled to El Salvador, which was then still recovering from a 12-year civil war. The experience turned her into a pacificist and peace activist ‒ which at the time meant leading her fellow students on a march to the local radio station.

She attended college at the University of Puget Sound and then worked as a paralegal and patent specialist for a number of years.

Her first marriage to San Francisco investor and finance executive Jeremy Asher Kranz reportedly lasted from 2013 to 2015. She was attending the Santa Clara University School of Law at the time, graduating in 2014.

She reportedly met Brin that year at a yoga retreat and the pair married in 2018, the same year their daughter Echo was born. They separated in 2021 and divorced last year.

It's unclear how much money she received in their confidentical divorce proceedings, but in 2022, Brin donated $23 million worth of shares in Alphabet, Google's parent company , to the philanthropy she founded and presides over, the Bia-Echo Foundation .

Shanahan provided $4 million to support a controversial $7 million Kennedy advertisement that ran during the Super Bowl. Last year, she donated $500,000 to the pro-Kennedy group Common Sense and the legal limit of $6,600 last year to Kennedy's campaign. She has donated to other candidates in the past, including Biden's 2020 campaign and Hillary Clinton's 2016 White House bid.

She founded ClearAccessIP, a Palo Alto-based lawfirm that helps patent owners manage and monetize their intellectual property right, which she sold in 2020. She remains listed as a research fellow at  CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics , which she described as focusing on "humanistic coding."

She was photographed on red carpets with Brin a number of times, and was alleged by the Wall Street Journal to have had an affair with Elon Musk, which both she and Musk repeatedly denied. She told People magazine in a story addressing her reaction to the negative publicity, that the two were friends and she spoke with him about whether his company Neuralink could provide assistance to Echo, who has autism.

She blamed the end of her marriage not on an affair, but on the challenges of "living as a wife of a billionaire."

"I was not the best version of myself,” she told the magazine. “I felt conflicted every day, like I couldn’t access the thing that made me what I am.”

Last May, Shanahan reportedly held a "love ceremony" with Jacob Strumwasser, a vice president at Lightning Labs, whom she met at the Burning Man festival in 2022.

Shanahan's philanthropy

Shanahan said her childhood of deprivation and priveleged adulthood have taught her that "the purpose of wealth is to help those in need."

To that end, she has devoted most of her public activities in recent years to health philanthropy, mainly in the areas of autism, "food as medicine," and female aging. "Healthy soil is the foundation of healthy food," she said and "our answer to the climate crisis."

She was a "convening participant" and a financial supporter of President Joe Biden's 2022 Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition and Health , though she said Tuesday that she has left the Democratic party because it is not living up to its ideals.

She has also committed $100 million over the course of her lifetime to promoting female longevity and has already seeded the creation of the Buck Institute's Center for Reproductive Longevity and Equality with a $6 million donation, in addition to a $20 million contribution toward the creation of a global consortium promoting women's reproductive health and longevity.

Shanahan has said she became interested in female reproductive health after facing fertility issues before conceiving Echo.

Jennifer Garrison, the scientist who runs both the center and the global consortium, said Shanahan's contributions have been essential to bringing attention and much-needed support to an underfunded area of research that could help better explain aging for everyone.

Although half the world's population is female, little is known about how and why ovaries age faster than the body's other tissues, and the other roles ovaries play in human health.

"What we're talking about is not just young women who are having fertility issues, not just women in perimenopause or going through menopause, but we're talking about a woman's entire adult life," Garrison said. "We don't understand how female bodies work at any point in adult life ‒ but we can. This is all knowable. None of this is rocket science. We just have to literally collect the data."

Shanahan was the first philanthropist to see the importance of digging into this science, learning more and helping women age better, she said.

Shanahan's platform

Shanahan spoke passionately about the importance of curing people from the chronic diseases that are plaguing them ‒ diseases she believes are caused by modern life. Curing them, she said, will cure America.

"What is possible for the human being is also possible for our nation," she said.

She blamed chronic illnesses like the infertility she suffered, her daughter's autism and rampant mental health challenges on three major causes.

  • First, she said, endocrine disruptors in food and chemicals in our environment make it harder for the body to heal.
  • Electrochemical exposures from wireless technologies and devices, such as cell phones, compound the problems, she said.
  • And medications, often prescribed to treat problems caused by the first two actually exacerbate them, she said. She did not name vaccines, but Kennedy is known for his anti-vaccine stance.

All three claims have limited or no scientific support.

As vice president, Shanahan said she would address those concerns by using artificial intelligence to examine medical data bases. "We just have to ask the right questions, do the right research and apply the right tools," she said. "We have to rid science of the corporate bias … and throw this into reverse."

She concluded by promising voters "to make this world a little less crazy."

Karen Weintraub can be reached at [email protected].


  1. FREE 51+ Introduction Speech Samples in PDF

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  2. How to Write a Speech Introducing Yourself: 15 Steps

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  3. FREE 36+ Introduction Speech Samples in PDF

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  4. Introduction Speech Examples

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  6. FREE 35+ Speech Examples in PDF

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  1. How to Write an Introduction Speech: 7 Easy Steps & Examples

    Write down any relevant achievements, expertise, or credentials to include in your speech. Encourage the audience to connect with you using relatable anecdotes or common interests. Rehearse and Edit. Practice your introduction speech to ensure it flows smoothly and stays within the time frame.

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    Here are 26 different techniques for beginning your speech: 1. Use a quote. One method of starting a speech and gaining the audience's attention is to use a famous or relatable quote. This approach can give your audience context for your topic and connect it to something they recognize. For instance, if you plan to give a speech on a political ...

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    The introduction gives the audience a reason to listen to the remainder of the speech. A good introduction needs to get the audience's attention, state the topic, make the topic relatable, establish credibility, and preview the main points. Introductions should be the last part of the speech written, as they set expectations and need to match ...

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    Analyze their response and tweak the joke accordingly if necessary. Starting your speech with humour means your setting the tone of your speech. It would make sense to have a few more jokes sprinkled around the rest of the speech as well as the audience might be expecting the same from you. 4. Mohammed Qahtani.

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    8. An empathetic question, aligning yourself with the audience and eliciting a response. These questions bring speaker and audience together, establishing a common ground, a mutual understanding, which is an effective way to ease into a speech. If your question 'works' you'll see heads nodding in agreement. Examples:

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    3. Inspire your audience with storytelling. A particularly powerful way to start is to share a story or personal real life experience with your audience at the beginning of your presentation. With a personal story, you create compelling moments and build an emotional connection with your audience.

  7. Your Speech's Introduction: How to Make It Powerful

    4) Give Them a Roadmap of Your Journey Together. So let's review. You've hooked your listeners' attention, made your topic sound intriguing, and told them how it's going to improve their lives. You're ready for the final part of your introduction: giving them a roadmap of where you'll be going together.

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    A thesis statement should appear, almost verbatim, toward the end of the introduction to a speech. A thesis statement helps the audience get ready to listen to the arrangement of points that follow. Many speakers say that if they can create a strong thesis sentence, the rest of the speech tends to develop with relative ease. ...

  9. Make A Speech Introduction That Grabs Audience Attention

    The speech introduction is the first part of a speech and the first opportunity to grab the audience's attention. The speaker should state the topic, make it relatable to the audience, establish credibility and preview the main points. You should write or finalize your introduction at the end so that it reflects what you actually said.

  10. Introduction Speech: a 'how to', with an example speech

    2. Check the length of your speech. Pertinent and pithy: a short speech is what you want. One to two minutes should be enough. Test it out loud with a timer and trim if necessary. My example speech is 171 words long. That will take approximately 1 minute 30 seconds to say depending on the speaker's rate of speech.

  11. How to Write a Good Speech: 10 Steps and Tips

    While other important factors make a speech a home run, these three elements are essential for writing an effective speech. The main elements of a good speech. The main elements of a speech typically include: Introduction: The introduction sets the stage for your speech and grabs the audience's attention. It should include a hook or attention ...

  12. How to Make a Great Introduction Speech

    Full Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLALQuK1NDrgwpES8nSyafhfg6MOAhk7k--Watch more Public Speaking Training videos: http://www.howcast.com/v...

  13. How to Write a Speech Introducing Yourself: 15 Steps

    Download Article. 1. Make an outline of your speech. Start by making a skeletal draft of your main points. Strip the speech down to its bare bones to determine what is most important to say, and in what order you should deliver those facts. This is the basic structure which you will build your speech around.

  14. PDF Giving an Introduction Speech

    Making distracting body movements. pulling on your sleeve pacing back and forth or shuffling your feet moving your hands in and out of your pockets slapping your hand on the side of your leg playing with objects in your hand (paper, pens, keys, etc.) touching your hair or face.

  15. 4 Ways of Making the Best Introduction Speech

    Four Characteristics of a Good Self-introduction Speech. Leaving lasting first impressions is as important as giving your introductory speech.Good speech of self-introduction must have the following qualities:. Factual. Details about your personal life and success regarding names, dates, and events should be presented as accurately and factually as possible.

  16. How to Write an Introduction Speech for Public Speaking

    The first 30 seconds of any introduction speech seem like the scariest. It doesn't take long, however, for the fire of the speech to take hold and you get absorbed in the words along with your audience. The first step is to write an intro that caters to your audience while setting the tone you wish to convey. The idea is to open strong in a ...

  17. 9 Introduction Speech Ideas for a Successful Presentation

    5. Keep it brief and simple. It's usually a good idea to keep your introductory speech brief and simple so listeners can remember what you say more easily and stay focused on your presentation. Try to use language familiar to your audience, and offer brief explanations of jargon that may be unfamiliar to them.

  18. How to Write an Introduction for a Persuasive Speech

    Tip: An easy way to make your writing more concise is to start your sentences with the subject. Also, try to limit the number of adverbs and adjectives you use. 3. Tailor your writing to your audience. Being aware of your audience while you're writing will help you craft a more persuasive message.

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    Example 1: If you need to make a 30-minute speech, then more than 3-4 minutes long beginning tends to overdo it and say nothing.. Consequently, the 10-15% rule is appropriate here. Example 2: If you need to make a 120-minute speech, a 12-18-minute introduction is too long. This means that the 10-15% rule doesn't apply here, and a substantive ...

  20. Introduction Speech

    Introductions are meant to give an audience a quick run through of what they must know. Create a speech outline that will state the purpose of your speech and provide a preview of main ideas that are to be discussed. This is sure to give your audience a reason to listen. 3. Create an icebreaker.

  21. How to Write an Introduction Speech

    To write an introduction speech that truly resonates with your audience, it's essential to master each element—from the engaging opening hook and the development of a dynamic body to a conclusion that leaves a memorable impact. This guide underscores the importance of understanding your audience, incorporating personal and emotional ...

  22. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Step 1: Hook your reader. Step 2: Give background information. Step 3: Present your thesis statement. Step 4: Map your essay's structure. Step 5: Check and revise. More examples of essay introductions. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

  23. Improved tactile speech robustness to background noise with a ...

    Many people with hearing loss struggle to understand speech in noisy environments, making noise robustness critical for hearing-assistive devices. Recently developed haptic hearing aids, which ...

  24. RFK Jr. announces Nicole Shanahan as his VP pick

    Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. named Silicon Valley attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his vice presidential running mate Tuesday. Follow here for the latest ...

  25. RFK Jr.'s VP pick is Nicole Shanahan: philanthropist, Sergey Brin ex

    In a video and a half-hour speech, she mentioned her difficult childhood, growing up in Oakland. Her family depended on welfare for a time, living "one misfortune away from disaster," as her ...