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30 Ways to Start A Speech

Imagine ... you've been asked to give an inspiring talk at a conference for young professionals. You want to motivate them to pursue their career dreams wholeheartedly. How might you start your speech and captivate them right from the beginning? 

There are so many options when considering how to start a speech that will capture your audience's imagination right from the outset. You can intrigue them with a bold statement, connect through shared experiences, or make them laugh and nod in agreement. The key is finding an opening that resonates with their goals and mindset.

Some ideas and Examples:

1. With a quote - "As Oprah Winfrey once said, 'The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.' That's an inspiring quote I could use when thinking about how to start a speech. 

2. Rhetorical question - “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Posing a thoughtful question is a great way to start a speech.

3. Humor/joke - "I googled 'how to start a motivational speech' and all I got was motivational speeches about giving motivational speeches."

4. Referencing the occasion - "We gather here today, united by our drive to achieve greatness in our careers." A relevant reference is an effective way to start a speech.

5. Sharing an emotional anecdote - "I'll never forget the day I was passed over for a promotion that went to a less experienced co-worker. It lit a fire in me to prove my worth." Personal stories resonate when considering how to start a speech.

6. Provocative statement - “Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.” A bold statement grabs attention right from the start.

7. Addressing the audience - "Ambitious, courageous, tenacious leaders..." Speaking directly to the audience is a compelling way to start. 

8. Describing a scenario - “Imagine waking up every day excited and inspired to do groundbreaking work that makes a difference...” Painting a picture is an impactful way to start a speech.

9. Sensory description - “Close your eyes and envision yourself standing on the stage, accepting the promotion you’ve worked tirelessly for.” Vivid sensory details engage the audience immediately.

10. Personal story - “My first internship was making copies and coffee. But I was determined to learn from every experience." Sharing your own stories brings a speech to life.

11. Historical context - “Think of the great innovators that came before us - from Amelia Earhart to Steve Jobs. Their legacies inspire us to achieve our own.” Referencing history contextualizes the message.

12. Future vision - “Picture yourself in 5 years, looking back with pride on all you've accomplished.” Visualizing the future is a powerful way to start a speech.

13. Gratitude - “Thank you for being here, and for your commitment to excellence.” Expressing gratitude establishes rapport with the audience.

14. Startling fact/statistic - “Did you know that only 27% of people are passionate about their jobs? Let’s be the ones who buck that trend.” An interesting fact grabs attention when starting a speech.

15. Song lyrics - "As Katy Perry once sang, 'Just own the night, like the 4th of July!'" Lyrics can make a strong start to a speech.

16. Three adjectives - "This day is energizing. This day is empowering. This day is life-changing." Impactful adjectives make a memorable start.

17. Simile - “Opportunity is like a sunrise - sometimes we have to climb to the top of the mountain to see it.” Figurative language engages the imagination.

18. Metaphor - “Life is a jungle gym, not a ladder. Don’t be afraid to take an unexpected path.” Metaphors help convey messages creatively.

19. Analogy - “Your career is a road trip. Make sure you enjoy the journey, not just the destination.” Finding the right comparison helps start a speech effectively.  

20. Rhetorical contrast - “Will you play it safe, or risk it all? Mediocrity or greatness? The choice is yours.” Contrasting ideas intrigues the listener.

21. Reference historical event - “When underdog Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals in Nazi Germany, he showed us what determination can achieve against all odds.” Referencing history resonates with audiences.

22. Literary allusion - “Like Odysseus finding his way back home, you may face setbacks and challenges, but stay focused on your purpose.” Alluding to well-known stories engages the audience creatively.

23. Call to action - “Who is ready to make today the first day of their greatest chapter?” A direct call to action is a dynamic way to start a speech.

24. Share a definition - “Success means accomplishing the goals you set out to achieve and becoming the person you want to be.” Providing a definition gives clarity from the beginning.

25. Quote - “As Wayne Gretzky said, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.’” The right quote can profoundly inspire audiences when starting a speech.

26. Rhetorical question - “If no one believed in you, would you still believe in yourself?” Thought-provoking questions engage listeners immediately. 

27. Pop culture reference - “This is your training montage moment. Time to give it everything you’ve got!” Referencing popular culture makes a connection.

28. Open with a blessing - “May you have the vision to recognize opportunities and the courage to pursue them.” Starting with meaningful wishes can uplift an audience.

29. Tell a fable/parable - “A wise woman once told me, ‘Leap, and the net will appear.’ Have faith in yourself.” Stories with a message help start a speech memorably.

30. Share wisdom - “My mentor taught me that patience and persistence will unlock any door. Stick with your ambitions.” Imparting wisdom is an impactful way to start.

There are so many compelling options when considering how to start a motivational speech. The key is choosing an opening that connects with the audience and inspires them. When we speak from the heart, we have the power to motivate greatness. I hope these examples provide ideas to help craft an unforgettable beginning.

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