You can start a speech a variety of ways, but please, pretty please, never start a speech by saying something like, “Hi, thanks so much for having me today, it is an honor to be with you… blah… blah… blah!”
What a waste of time!
Remember that more than 90% of people don’t change their first impression about you. If you come out doing something boring and generic in those first few seconds, you will be remembered as being boring and generic!
Begin your speech by talking about one or all three of the following:
Talk about the Culture: What do you find fascinating about their culture? What art, music, or fashion have you experienced while in town that you really appreciate?
Talk about the Cuisine: What local restaurant did you just eat at that your audience will know and love? What food did you try and not like, but are glad you tried it? What food do you want to get more of and wish you had in your town?
Talk about the Contributions: What has the organization or city given back to the community or world? What inventions, stories, people, or leaders have come from there? What contributions have they given, and why are you happy they made them? How has it helped you in your life?
While speaking in China for example, I started off my speeches saying, “Hello, how are you doing today?” in Mandarine (Culture). Then I went into talking about eating jelly fish and cow stomach (Cuisine) for the first time after we visited the Great Wall (Contributions).
This technique helps you build trust with an audience, gets you to explore their world and shows them you care about what they have done! Start your next speech using one or all three of these things. You will capture their attention, their minds and more importantly their hearts! As always…