What is the goal of professional speaking? The goals of professional speaking are to entertain, inform, inspire, and to get the audience to take action. The truth is, in order for your presentation or speech to have its greatest effect you need to be able to entertain and wow your audience.

Remember, the ultimate purpose of speaking is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments. Everything you say should relate to the actions you want people to take and the reasons that they should take those actions.

You have heard the saying ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’ The truth is, when you start your speech, you must focus everything on making a positive first impression on your audience members. By following any one of these tips for your speech, you are sure to grab your audience’s attention. So here a few tried and ways to get your speech off the ground.

Begin a speech with:

  • Quoting… A Famous Person: Start by quoting a well-known person or established publication. Business author Brian Tracy recommends touching upon the subject of continual personal development. Try saying something like, “As basketball coach Pat Riley said, ‘If you are not getting better, you are getting worse.’” -or- Recent Research: Commence by quoting a recent research report. For example: “According to a report in a recent issue of Businessweek, there were almost 10,000,000 millionaires in America in 2013, most of them self-made.”
  • Telling The Audience What They Are Going To Gain… A great motivation is a desire for gain. If you can convey to any crowd that they’re going to gain things from your talk, like time or greater success or prestige at your company, then they will be listening. They’ll want to know how they can do that. A powerful way you can open is to say “There are three things you need to do if you want to earn a promotion in the next 18 months.”
  • Talking About Yourself… Start a speech with background about yourself to help people in the crowd immediately identify with you and/or become more open to the rest of your speech. For example: “I didn’t graduate from college. My family had no money. Everything I’ve accomplished in life I had to do on my own with very little help from anyone else.” You’ll be amazed that no matter what you share, how many people will come up to you afterwards and either relate or share their experience as well. Building a bridge such as this is very helpful in bringing the audience onto your side.

Now a good public speech is like a well-crafted play, movie, or song. It opens by arresting the listener’s attention, develops point-by-point, and then ends strongly. So what are some ways you can wrap up your speech without losing your audience? Here are some ways that keep an audience on the edge of their seats until the very end of your talk.

Close a speech with:

  • A Call to Action… Tell the audience what you want them to do as a result of hearing you speak. A call to action is the best way to wrap up with strength and power. This tactic is favorite of motivational speaker Tony Robbins and one he used in his 2006 TED Talk. Whatever you say, imagine an exclamation point at the end. As you approach the conclusion, drive the final point home. Regardless of whether the audience agrees with you or are willing to do what you ask, it should be perfectly clear to them what you are requesting.
  • A Summary… There is a classic formula for any speech: ‘Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then, tell them what you told them.’ List your key points, one by one, and repeat them to the audience, showing how each of them links to the other points. Audiences appreciate a linear repetition of what they have just heard. This makes it clear that you are coming to the end of your talk.
  • A Story… From early childhood, people love stories of any kind. When you start off with the words, “Once upon a time…” you tell the audience that a story is coming. People immediately become quiet and lean forward like kids around a campfire. As you reach the end of your talk, you can say, “Let me tell you a story that illustrates what I have been talking about…” Highlight a brief story with a moral, and then tell the audience what the moral is. Don’t leave it to them to figure out. Close with a story that illustrates your key points and then clearly links to the key message that you are making with your speech.