How to craft and deliver the perfect opening line

The opening line of your speech or presentation is absolutely key to its success.

As you utter your first words, your audience will immediately form an opinion about you, and the topic you are going to cover.

You can win them over or lose them forever with one single line.

If your opening line is so important, you really need to know how to craft a statement that will engage, intrigue and impress your audience from the very first word.

How to create that killer opening line

Because our opening line is so important, many people assume that it will be hard to write and even harder to get right.

Not so.

To write your killer opening line you simply need to find a startling or intriguing fact about your topic. Something relevant, new and surprising.

Got it?

Ok, now simply take your startling fact or statement and turn it into each of the types of opening line below.

You may find that your fact works better in some of the formats below than others. Don’t worry, our objective here is to find the format that works best for our fact.

Try turning your fact into the formats below:

(For the purposes of this exercise, my demonstration (fictitious) fact is: “20% of the world’s population is currently starving.”)

Funny - a joke or humorous comment related to your speech topic: I’m currently on the seafood diet. I see food, and I eat it. As we sit here and laugh about food, 20% of the world’s population is currently starving…

Blunt - turn your fact into a bold and impactful statement: After 2 million years of evolution, 1 in 5 of the people on this planet is currently starving.

Thought provoking – turn your fact into a thought-provoking statement:  If you had three children, would you accept any one of them starving? That is the situation facing humanity today, as 20% of our population goes hungry.

Participative – ask a question of your audience: How many of you have ever really starved?

Intriguing – turn your fact into a statement that has an air of mystery: Today ladies and gentlemen, we are going to discover why 1 in 5 of the people in this room should be really hungry right now…

Delivering your opening line

Once you’ve crafted that killer opening, don’t let it go to waste with a weak delivery.

Stand tall and confident with a big smile (if appropriate) to deliver your opening line.

Open your arms to the audience, project your voice and once you have delivered that killer opening…

Pause.

Give the room time to absorb your statement, to understand it and most importantly to appreciate it.

Then, deliver your speech excellently, safe in the knowledge that your audience are engaged and with you!