Devin Bisanz, October 4 2019

Speech Writing 101- Opening And Closing Remarks

Opening Remarks 

Opening remarks are arguably the most important words of any speech; nobody remembers the content, everybody remembers how you make them feel. If you make a person feel good 10 seconds after they meet you, and again when you part ways. That's how they'll remember you. 

NEVER 

Open a speech by apologizing. 

Open a speech with the background story.

Never say, I’m so nervous right now! Wow there are so many people here. I’m not a great public speaker.

ALWAYS

Get right into your opening remarks.

Welcome the audience. 

Professionals often open up with a joke before welcoming the audience. Either way say, "Hello and welcome." 

Here are 6 techniques to open any speech like a pro:

Pro tip: for practice, read each example (out loud if possible). Read it like you believe it and then pause... hold the pause... and then say, "Hello and Welcome!"

1. Powerful Statement or Fact

Your life is a result of your choices. If you don't like your life, then make better choices.

2. Question

*Are you ready for the next Zombie Apocalypse?
Or you can use a no-brainer question: who here likes to eat?

3. Quote

As Miles Davis once said, "Time isn't the main thing, it's the only thing." 

4. Hook/Joke/Meme

Don't you hate it when people answer their own questions? I do!

5. A very short story

It was 2004, I was running from a bear, and nobody was around for 100 miles! 

6. Imagine this ...

Imagine this... you're looking down the barrel of a loaded gun. 


Opening Remark Prompts: 

Opening Questions

Are you ready for ...?

Don't you wish ...?

Have you ever wondered ...?

Are you interested in ...?

Isn't it time you ...?

What if ...?


Opening Grabbers

You've probably noticed that ...

Think about this ...

Believe it or not ... It's never too late to ...

First of all ...


Challenge The Audience

Delve into ...

Sample the ...

If you think you're good enough ...

If you're really interested in ...

Closing Remarks

Pro tip: The closing remarks should tie into the opening remarks. If you opened your speech up with a quote then why not end your speech with the exact same quote? It's simple, effective, and fun. 

Here are 3 ways to end your speech

1. Moral of the story/lesson

If we used opener #1: the moral of the story is make better choices.

2. Call to action

If we used opener #2: *when you leave here today I want you to go home and start finding a place to build a bunker. Rent a backhoe, tonight, dig the bunker, and pour the cement frame. Then, fill the bunker with canned beans and tuna, you'll need it. You'll need a bunker door, I'm selling those at the back of the stage! 

Or,

Here is my big challenge for you today ...

3. Quote

If we used opener #3: ... remember, "Time isn't the main thing, it's the only thing." 

Have a great and wonderful day!


But Wait, Here's More Prompts

My [grandmother/previous boss/coach] was famous for saying...

I hope today inspires ideas and discussions...

5/10/20 years ago, I never could have imagined that...

The best thing that ever happened to me was…

If you were to ask my [mother/partner/teenager, etc.] what drives me crazy, s/he would tell you that...

I will never forget the first time that...

I have a confession to make...

BOOM! That's the sound of [the competition imploding/our sales opportunities quadrupling/our large job copiers breaking, etc.]...

I was raised to believe that...

Among my friends, I am famous for/infamous for...

As [Eleanor Roosevelt/Gandhi/Shakespeare, etc.] once said, ...

I don't like to admit it, but...

Something you'd never guess about me is...

Experts say that...

I was this close to ...

Let me set the scene...

100 years ago, [sliced bread/the first roller coaster/the hubcap] was invented. What's significant about that? Let me tell you...

The single most important thing I want to share with you today is…

When you leave here today, think about this... writing that next award winning speech.


Have a great and wonderful day,

Devin Bisanz



Written by

Devin Bisanz

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