The introduction of a speech includes the first words and visuals that the audience hears and sees. I believe that an audience will give a speaker about 30 seconds to decided if the speech is worth listening to or not. Therefore, the introduction of the speech should be well-planned and well-practiced, and it should be worth a significant portion of the speech’s grade.
I have seen some textbooks and other speech teachers emphasize up to 7 different components of a speech introduction. In my opinion, too many parts of an introduction can lead to a lengthy, ineffective introduction, but feel free to disagree!
I emphasize three components of a speech introduction:
- The Attention-Getter: There are many techniques to grab an audience’s attention. At least one should be used and be effective for this particular audience.
- The Speaker Credibility Statement: Who are you? Why should the audience trust you? Why do you know what you’re talking about? If a speaker doesn’t answer these questions, they can lose their audience almost immediately.
- The Preview: A good speaker tells the audience what’s coming up. As I tell my students, this is a speech, not a surprise party. Previewing ideas lets the audience “signpost” the speech, making the speech easier to follow.
Put together, these components can become the “Introduction” portion of a speech evaluation.
Here is an example of an evaluation that I use: