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Speech Introductions: Role & Components

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  • 0:01 The Role of an Introduction
  • 0:58 Getting Your Attention
  • 1:54 Reveal the Topic
  • 2:40 Establish Credibility
  • 3:57 State Your Thesis and…
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

A speech introduction should give a good first impression, get your audience's attention, establish credibility, and prepare your audience for the content of the speech. In this lesson, you'll learn about the essential components of an introduction.

The Role of an Introduction

Tiffany is creating a speech about volunteering in her community. Today, she is constructing the introduction of her speech. Using Tiffany's speech about volunteering, you will learn about the role of an introduction in your speech and about each component of an introduction. First, let's discuss the role of the introduction and components of an introduction

The role of an introduction is to give your audience a good first impression of your speech by getting their attention. It is also important for your introduction to help you establish credibility with your audience before you begin the main content of your speech. Finally, your introduction will help prepare the audience for the main points of your speech. So, how do you accomplish all of this at once? You have to make sure you include all of the components of an introduction!

The components of an introduction are:

  • Attention getter
  • Topic reveal
  • Credibility position
  • Thesis and preview

Let's discuss each component in greater detail.

Getting Your Attention

The first thing Tiffany will need in her speech is an attention getter. An attention getter is the opening statement in a speech that the speaker uses to engage the audience. An attention getter does just as the name implies; it gets the attention of the audience. So, how do you do that? There are many types of attention getters that you can use:

  • A story (anecdote)
  • A shocking statement/statistics
  • A testimony
  • A quote

These are just a few of the types of attention getters you can use in your speech. The attention getter is important because it is the very first impression the audience has of your speech. Tiffany will use a shocking statistic and statement that goes like this: '$173 billion dollars and the key to happiness - ready?'

This is a shorter attention getter. Some anecdotes will cause an attention getter to go longer. Depending on the length of your speech, you don't want your attention getter to be much longer than 45 seconds.

Reveal the Topic

Now that you've got your audience's attention, you need to reveal your speech topic. It may be something that is obvious from your attention getter, but it's still important to clarify your topic for the audience. Few things are more distracting to an audience member than confusion. If the audience member is confused about the topic, then they may have a hard time following the rest of your speech. A topic reveal is a statement in the introduction of a speech that tells the audience the topic of the speech. It is important to get the audience's attention first, then reveal the topic. Audience members have a short attention span, so you want to grab them first and then tell them the topic of the speech right away. Tiffany's topic reveal goes like this: 'Today I will be discussing volunteering in your community.'

Establish Credibility

Next, you will need to establish credibility in your speech by stating a credibility position. A credibility position is a sentence in your introduction that demonstrates your credentials and knowledge about the topic. A credibility position should tell the audience why they should listen to you about the speech topic. For many classroom speeches, you will not be the expert in the field. You can establish credibility in your introduction by telling the audience about your personal connection to the topic, why you chose the topic, or about the research you've done in preparation for the speech. For example, Tiffany can say, 'According to the website volunteeringinamerica.gov, the total amount of volunteering hours accomplished last year alone was estimated at $173 billion dollars. In addition to volunteering on my own, I've done a lot of research in preparation for this presentation.'

You can also try to establish goodwill with the audience by reassuring the audience that you have their best interest in mind. This is especially important for a persuasive speech. For example, Tiffany can say, 'I have enjoyed the personal benefits of volunteering, and after doing research about the happiness and satisfaction that volunteering brings, I think you will find volunteering to be a valuable activity as well.'

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