The Purpose of the Introduction

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Though the introduction constitutes a small portion of the time allotted for delivering the speech, it has to contribute a significant amount of information to get the speech started right. Speakers will never get their message across to the audience if they don’t first get their attention. Once speakers have their attention, they don’t want to lose it, so they need to “set the hook” by capturing the audience’s interest. This helps, but will not be enough to insure they continue to listen. The audience needs to know that the information will benefit them in some way. They also want to know the speaker’s investment in the topic and gauge their knowledge to speak on it. Finally, the introduction offers the first opportunity to deliver the core message to the audience (the thesis or central idea) and give them a preview of the most important elements of that idea. If the speech lasts less than 10 minutes in length, the speaker needs to accomplish all of the following in less than two minutes: 1) Grab attention; 2) Relate to the audience; 3) Establish credibility; and 4) Provide the core of the speech, including a preview of the speech to come.


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Messages that Matter: Public Speaking in the Information Age - Third Edition Copyright © 2023 by North Idaho College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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