It’s the most popular opening for a speech, Table Topics response or the explanation of a role during a meeting.
Why do we use this greeting? Glad you asked. Here are a few of the popular reasons Toastmasters use the greeting:
The greeting is to cut through the noise in the minds of the audience and bring attention to the speaker. Think of it as the dimming of the lights before the movie or play starts.
The greeting is a way for the speaker or role to acknowledge the audience. It’s a way to say, “Thank you for giving me the floor.”
It is often at the very beginning of a speech or role that nerves are at their strongest. As the speaker searches for the words or topic they wish to discuss for Table Topics, this brief introduction buys them time.
Establishing a habit, routine or structure often helps with nerves. Shaking hands and delivering the greeting helps a speaker to mental segway into their presentation or performance. It allows them to slip into their speaker groove.
At the Front? After an Intro?
When do we say the greeting? At the very beginning of the speech? After a brief intro?
Well, it depends on you and your speech.
The first words you speak to your audience lays the foundation for your speech. This is the point in which you will build and layer the various elements of your speech. It is your chance to grab the audience’s and pull them along on your wild ride.
For most of our speeches, it is recommended that you use one of the many speech opening techniques. This can be a compelling question, sound effect, vivid description or a shocking fact. Then pause, do the greeting, and ease into the remainder of your speech.
Note: Particularly for contest speeches, it is urged that the greeting is said within the first thirty seconds. The chair during contests remains standing until the greeting is uttered by the contestant. After thirty seconds, the chair will sit and some judges note the incident.
When the greeting is best at the beginning is when you are making a Table Topics impromptu speech, performing your meeting role or delivering one of the speeches designed to enhance the club experience (Successful Club, Better Speeches or Leadership Excellence).
Play with the greeting and see what works for you. It comes down to comfort level and the impact you are looking to make.
What are your thoughts on the greeting? Discuss in the comments below!