Open your meeting, introduce your topics and send your message with professionalism, confidence and influence.
Starting my journey
Why the need for a speech?
Formalities are expected at conferences, major meetings and work functions. As the host of these business events, it is your job thank attendees and to “set the scene” by outlining the purpose of the occasion. A basic speech may "tick the box", though a great speech engaged the audience with a level of influence. With a professional and engaging speech, combined with an influential “why, what, how, what if” structure, you can start the occasion in a manner that has the audience buying-in to your message.
How do I do this?
A well-designed speech for your meeting, function or conference possesses a strong central theme and is structured in a way that sets the tone for the occasion. Conveying your central theme in a why-how-what-what order informs your audience and ensures they clearly understand your topic and message. Where appropriate, it is also important that special guests and other attendees are acknowledged are thanked for their contributions. Your audience expects to be informed and acknowledged, and you hope to do so with a level of influence, so considering your theme and applying this structure will ensure all everyone’ expectations are met.
What do I need to do?
In the Meeting Welcome Speech, you should consider the following:
Your audience - who are you talking to and what do they like? Give this some thought and the audience will appreciate it. Remember - the speech is about both you and the audience, and your job is to ensure everyone's expectations are met.
A theme - what is the overall message you are trying to send through your stories and content? Nailing this down will help get the creative juices flowing when the time comes to think of stories.
A "hook"- the very first words in your speech. A comment or story that grabs the audience’s attention immediately.
Opening - briefly outline what you are going to tell your audience – outlaying the purpose of the meeting, conference or function and “signposting” (telling them what your are going to tell them) prepares your audience and brings immediate clarity to your speech.
Explain why this topic, or its associated activities, is so important – explaining the “why” behind the topic and its associated activities illustrates the “big picture” and clearly outlines the audience’s overall goal.
How your team or group are going, or went, with this particular topic – an opportunity to inform your audience and reflect on how events relating to your theme has transpired. Depending on the occasion (such as an end-of-year party), this is potentially an opportunity to show appreciation towards your audience.
What activities have been, or need to be, taken in the future to be in an ideal state regarding this topic – reflecting on past or upcoming activities ensures your audience understands what specific activities directly influence the overall goal.
Explain what if the relevant group or team don’t or didn’t take action about the topic – describing the consequences of not undertaking an activity relating to your theme adds a final, influential touch to your message.
Thank you messages – thanking attendees, family members, VIPs, special guests and others that contribute to the event satisfies individuals’ need for recognition.
Close – finish your speech with a recap on what was discussed, basic formalities and a call to action to have the audience contemplate personal action to bring your suggestions into effect
Your delivery - consider how you are delivering your speech. There may be points in the speech in which you should vary your tone and volume, and times you should use gestures. These tools will help to get maximum impact, so consider this when you write your speech.
What if I get it wrong?
At SpeechForm, we believe your efforts to write your Meeting Welcome Speech ensures the speech is memorable, but to make the speech enjoyable, memorable and one that has people approaching you to sing their praises for your speech. After all, you will have put in a lot of effort. There is something special about making an impact on your audience. Make sure to include the above points, otherwise your audience may not get what they expected from the speech. And always ask yourself - what am I trying to achieve with this speech? Keep that in mind as you develop your content.
Remember to rehearse. The more you develop the speech and rehearse, the greater the impression you will make. Confidence through a well-written speech is great, but using your voice and your body effectively only comes through practice.
Get it right, and you will leave a lasting impression that your audience will remember long after the event.
For more on how to write and deliver a Meeting Welcome Speech, check out our Resources and Blog.
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