Last Updated 21 May 2021

Beginning and Ending Your Speech

Category Speech
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Since the introduction will be your audience's first impression of your presentation and your conclusion will be the final impression you leave your audience with, it is important to spend time writing and practicing both the introduction and conclusion. If you successfully get through the introduction of your speech, it improves the chances you will have a successful speech overall. First, because it will set the tone for the rest of your speech and second, because it will be a boost to your confidence.

For both the informative and persuasive speech, you will have your Central Idea Statement at the end of the introduction and at the beginning of the conclusion (with a change in verb tense in the conclusion). For each speech, both the introduction and conclusion should be about a minute to a minute and a half long. If yours is longer or shorter in practice, work on adjusting it. You should not start your informative or persuasive speech with "Hello, my name is….. " instead, start right into the professional introduction as you have created it.

Your introduction for both the informative and persuasive needs to have all five elements: It should get the audience's attention and interest You could do this using any of the following techniques (you might use more than one but not all seven). Explain to your audience how important your topic is to them or the seriousness of your topic. This might include statistics or reports concerning your topic.Startle the Audience You might choose something that startles them, such as popping a balloon to talk about air noise.

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But you should not scare or terrify them. Arouse the Curiosity of the Audience You might start with a riddle of some sort to reveal the topic or talk about the topic in a way that leaves the topic a mystery at first. Question the Audience You might start by asking your audience rhetorical questions (questions you are not expecting them to answer verbal, but instead, in their own mind). Begin with a Quotation You might start with a quotation that somehow leads to the topic.  Tell a Story

Tell the audience a story (either actual or composite) that reveals the nature of your topic. Relate the Topic to Current Events You might explain how your topic is related to something that has recently happened in the news.  Relate the Topic to the Audience Tell your audience why they should listen to your speech; why this particular topic should be of interest to your audience. If you can't relate your topic to your audience, then why are you having them listen to it?   Make sure your audience is clear exactly what topic you will be discussing.

It may seem obvious to you by the story you have told or the quotation you have shared, but it might not be to them. This can be difficult for a new speaker or a speaker that is unknown to the audience and consequently doesn't have a reputation with the audience. One of the main ways to start off establishing credibility with an audience is through professional dress (referred to as initial credibility). This way at the start, your audience has a good impression of you.

In regard to the spoken introduction, explaining to your audience any association you have to your topic will help with credibility ("for the past four years I've been involved with Civil War reenactments"). If you decided on the topic simply because it was of interest to you, stating that is a good way to establish credibility ("when I first started doing research for this speech, I didn't think much about the dollar bill, but through my research I was amazed how much history there is behind this piece of paper we all use every day").

Establishing goodwill is establishing that you want to help your audience understand your topic; you have concern for their learning. You might do this by addressing their concerns about the topic ("I know many of you might be oppose to school vouchers but I hope you will keep an open mind about the issues I would like to discuss with you today" or "I know you might have struggled through a math class but I hope to show you how math can be a form of artwork").  Preview the Body of the Speech For the most part your Central Idea Statement will fulfill this function.

However, you may decide your topic needs even more of a preview than the CIS and want to add additional set up for your topic. Your conclusion for both the informative and persuasive needs to have all four elements: Review the Body of the Speech For the most part your Central Idea Statement will fulfill this function. However, you may decide your topic needs even more of a review than the CIS and want to add additional conclusion for the topic.  It Should Relate to the Introduction Have your speech come full circle by relating to something you discussed in the introduction.

You can go back to any of the ways you got your audience's attention and interest. For example, you could finish a story you told in the introduction or go back to the questions you posed to your audience and answer them. Call for Future Action in Regard to Your Topic While this seems more natural for a persuasive speech ("please go out and vote"), it can work for an informative also. You might ask them to learn more about your topic, or try the subject of your speech the next time they get a chance. "So the next time you go to see a movie, consider all the work that goes into editing a movie" or "Today I've told you some about The House on the Rock, if you'd like to learn even more, please check out the following books…. " or "The next time you find a spider, instead of running for the can of Raid, consider what an amazing architect you have in front of you"). Give the Speech a Feeling of Conclusion Your audience shouldn't be confused if your speech is concluding or not. You want to be sure to bring the speech to a clear and smooth ending.

People are often so relieved to be finished with the speech (or they haven't spent time writing the ending) that they ruin a great speech with a terrible ending. Remember this is the final impression your audience will have of you and your speech. You should not end the speech with "thank you" since that implies that the audience was somehow doing you a favor by listening to your speech instead of listening because it was a good speech. Also, you shouldn't end with statements like, "that's it! or "that's all I have" since that just throws away the ending of the speech. Additionally, you shouldn't end with "are there any questions? " since there isn't a time set up for questions ; answers after your speech (so it is just another throw away ending). Another mistake to avoid is to start packing up or walking toward your seat during your conclusion. There is time for that after you speech. You should end your speech, in place, centered in front of your audience. You want to end your speech as strong as you started it.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

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