Welcome speeches play an important part at any event, setting the stage and building enthusiasm and support for the speaker or event that will follow. An effective welcome speech is thorough and brief at the same time. It's also factually correct, follows proper etiquette, and immediately captures the audience's attention. Whether you're a seasoned public speaker or giving a speech for the first time, writing an effective welcome speech is a rewarding undertaking.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Consider the specific event. Welcome speeches are appropriate for many events, including workshops, conventions, lectures or festivals. Consider who or what you'll be introducing. It could be a welcome speech for a famous motivational speaker or the opening speech for a local celebration. Focusing on this information helps organise your thoughts.
Determine your tone. The welcome speech should focus on making the audience feel enthusiastic and at ease. It should also properly introduce and welcome the featured speaker that follows you or highlight important aspects of the event. For a formal event, aim for proper etiquette and a formal tone. For a more casual event, warmth and humour is suitable.
Write an outline of essential information. Generally, you should acknowledge and thank any VIP guests who are present at the event, whether involved directly or not. Introduce and thank the host. Describe the event briefly, including any upcoming highlights. When introducing a particular person, mention key achievements and career highlights. Thank anyone who has been involved in funding and organising the event. Write down the proper pronunciation of all names and fact-check all your information.
Organise the information in an appropriate order. Begin by introducing yourself and thanking the audience for attending. Next thank VIP guests, followed by an enthusiastic description of the main speaker or event. Thank funders or organisers. End with a few more words of thanks and introduce the next speaker. Tie all the different components together smoothly, and, if using jokes, try to include them near the beginning or end.
Time the speech. Welcome speeches should generally be brief and straightforward. While you may have time for a brief joke, aim for a compact and efficient speech with all necessary information included. Many welcome speeches are only two to four minutes. Time yourself with a stopwatch until you're able to deliver the speech in this time.
Tips and warnings
- A catchy hook or quick joke at the very beginning of the speech will capture your audience's attention.
- Ask someone else to listen to your speech. This extra set of ears can catch awkward moments. If writing the speech for someone else, ask the speaker to read it aloud while you listen and work together to fix any confusing moments.
- Make sure to end your welcome speech with an inclusive statement such as: "Please join me in welcoming..." followed by the next speaker's name.
- Sincerity will build audience support. Focus on your heartfelt enthusiasm for the event or speaker, and work this into the speech for a personal touch.
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