How to start a speech for students (Ultimate opening lines)

Person presenting to an audience

Schools and their love for speeches is an affair we are all quite aware of. Now if you are looking to move beyond the mundane way of delivering speeches in school and are in search of some amazing speech openings for students, you are at the right place!

Speeches are the most common form of public speaking that is encouraged in schools. Be it for a competition, assignment, presentation, or even as a punishment (oops), speeches are everywhere in a student’s life.  

To get a quick idea on speech opening lines for students, don’t forget to check out our video on 3 speech opening lines for students!

But before we dive into understanding how to go about your speeches, it is important to first understand why educational institutes focus so much on speeches or public speaking in general that they begin introducing us to speeches as early as primary sections.

Why is speech encouraged in Primary school?

It is a common practice to give the students a little idea about giving speeches as early as primary school. Part of the reason is that these are the foundational years and form as a stepping stone for the students to get a little more used to public speaking as they move to higher classes.

A couple of ways students in primary schools may be asked to give speeches would be to introduce themselves or at competitions like fancy dress competitions.

What is the use of speech in high school?

In high school, as students gain more understanding about the world at large and develop their opinions, giving speeches is encouraged in school to help them navigate their thoughts to their peers. Further, speeches as a form of public speaking also help build the student’s soft skills.

A few ways giving speeches in high school can help in developing their soft skills are:

1. Critical Thinking

Speeches aren’t about blurting out your ideas or opinions, rather it requires you to research and find evidence to back your point of view, or to think critically to deliver a speech that effectively reaches the other students.

2. Problem-solving

Speeches could be framed around a popular or controversial issue that the student wishes to provide their insight into. This would encourage them to come up with solutions. Apart from that, even coming up with a speech can be a task sometimes, and overcoming those challenges too can be counted in as a way of problem-solving

3. Time-management

With a huge number of students in high school, speeches are almost always time-bound. This also means that the students have to structure their speeches in a way that fits the time given, further inculcating time management skills in them.

4. Active listening

Speeches are not only about delivering or conveying your ideas or findings but also about listening carefully to what others have to say in terms of questions that may ask.

Why is speech required at college?

Speeches in college have an entirely different goal than the one that schools have.

In college, it isn’t always mandatory to give speeches or to participate in public speaking. However, a few reasons why giving speeches or public speaking is encouraged in colleges is because:

  1. It helps in developing communication and public speaking skills that can be very beneficial to their professional life later.
  2. Speeches may also be a way to meet new people and make new connections.
  3. It improves the student’s leadership skills. How? We have all heard how a good speaker carries with him or her the potential to influence and lead the crowd, and that is how practicing public speaking in college helps improve a student’s leadership skills.

When can students be asked to give a speech?

As we just discussed that the purpose of giving speeches changes as we progress in our school. However, there are a couple of situations where mostly all students are expected to present their speech. And they are:

Classroom/section speeches

Classroom or section speeches are the ones you give in front of your classmates or people from your age group. Generally, the presentation of assignments and competitions comes under this category.

Graduation Speech

Graduating students

Students may also be expected to present a graduation speech. However, the big difference here is that not everyone gets the opportunity to present a graduation speech or commencement address as it is known.

What type of speech is a graduation speech? Or what type of speech is a commencement speech?

Graduation speeches or commencement speeches are parting speeches wherein the focus is on reflecting on the good times in the institute and motivating others for their bright future ahead. Depending on the purpose as selected by the speaker, these speeches could be persuasive, informative, or entertaining in nature

How to start a speech as a student 

Giving speeches as a student, even if you have been doing it for the past few years can still end up being a little challenging.  But rather than giving you tons of tips on things you can focus on while coming up with your speech or speech openings for students, we have got one ultimate tip. If you follow that, you should ideally be able to reach your audience more effectively.

Ultimate tip when writing speeches or speech openings for students

Write how you speak, not how you write

When I came across this tip, I was surprised too. Because is indeed true that we write very differently when we have to show the speech to someone in written form but if asked honestly, do we speak in such a highly polished, extra professional vocabulary?

No!

The idea is not to write the speech or speech opening riddled with slang but rather in a way that you’d feel comfortable listening to and understanding easily had you been the listener.

So in short, prepare the speech with the listener in mind, not the reader.

What is a good opening line for a speech?

Most opening lines for speech in school begin with a good morning. We usually follow it with greetings or addressing the audience and the guests.

Wondering how you greet everyone in a speech?

Here is a list of ways you can begin with a simple good morning:

  1. Good morning everyone presents here today. I’m delighted to present my views and understanding on a very delicate yet overlooked topic; Gender sensitization in the workplace.
  2. Good afternoon esteemed members of the jury, my friends and peers, and everyone present in the room today.
  3. Good morning to the faculty, the non-teaching staff, and the class of 2022!!

Now it is a good practice to begin your speech with your usual greetings. However, in this blog, we are trying to look beyond the usual.

It doesn’t mean that you will not be saying good morning or your basic greetings; the only difference is that you’ll not be opening your speech with it but addressing these basic formalities later in the speech.

How do you start a speech without saying good morning?

There are a couple of ways you can start a speech without saying good morning. Here are some of the ways we will take a look at in this blog:

  1. Quote
  2. “Imagine” scenario
  3. “What if” scenario
  4. Rhetorical questions
  5. Silence
  6. Statistics and figures
  7. Powerful statements
  8. Story

1. Quote

Quotes are phrases or things spoken by someone influential. Quotes as speech openings for students can not only help them go beyond the widely popular way of beginning any speech but will also help them establish credibility right in the very beginning!

Now if you have ever wondered,

How to start your speech with a quote?

Here are a couple of examples of using quotes as speech openings for students:

Lon Watters had said that “A school is a building with four walls, with tomorrow inside.” And it would be wrong if I said that I didn’t agree with every bit of what he said. As we come to an end of our journey with this school that has provided us with tons of opportunities to learn, grow, interact and make memories we sure will cherish forever…

“If you don’t have a plan for your life, somebody else does.” This is a quote given by Michael Hyatt and isn’t it something we have all been experiencing all these years of growing up as our parents or guardians make plans for us right from the way we dress to the school we go to and sometimes even the careers we choose. Good morning everyone, I am Myra, a student of XYZ school standing here to voice my opinion on “Factors that influence your career decisions.”

 2. “Imagine” Scenario

Young girl imagining

This happens to be a personal favorite of mine when it comes to speech openings for students. A very simple yet beautiful way to engage your audience right at the beginning of your speech while at the same time allowing them to relate to what you’ll be saying next is what the image” scenarios are all about.

Examples:

Before we begin, I’d like you to take a moment and imagine walking through a trail. You see the lush greens and pretty sky above you, the most dynamic clouds following everyone you go. Try sniffing the smell of wet soil and a hint of flowery fragrance as you walk towards the edge of the hill expecting to take a glimpse of the utter beauty that these hours of walking would lead you to, but you find something else. You see something that sends chills down your spine. There are some strange men performing rituals right in the very heart of these dense greens. You wonder what it is all about until it hits you; you have just uncovered a cult.

For the next example, I’d like you to take a look at the video below and check for yourself how wonderfully the speaker (although not a student) has made use of the “imagine” scenario to share his tragic experience with his audience.

Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D.

3. “What If” Scenario

What if I told you that the best speech openings for students are actually the ones wherein they come up with an opening that best represents their style and comfort at delivering speeches, be it with a joke or a story?

Do you see what I did there?

That is an example of a “what if” scenario. It is similar to the imagination scenario we discussed above but the only difference here is that “what if” speech openings for students focus on providing an alternative idea to the audience while the imagined scenarios provide the audience an opportunity to relate to the speaker.

4. Rhetorical question

Rhetorical questions are questions the speaker includes in his/her/their speech that doesn’t necessarily require the audience to come up with an answer but are posed to get the audience thinking on the same.

Using rhetorical questions as speech openings for students can work wonders especially when you are looking for either a very quick speech opening or have very little time to deliver the speech.

An example of using rhetorical questions for speech opening is given below:

Talking about the new policy that makes it illegal to check the gender of the child before birth, do you think that it will curb the issue of female foeticide? Or will it simply take the activity underground?

5. Silence

The art of silence is phenomenal. Opening your speech in silence can help enhance your speech in two ways.

First, it will give the audience some time to settle in, post which you can expect to grab their dedicated attention. And secondly, silence would give you some time to understand the room and calm your pre-stage anxiousness.

6. Statistics and figures

collage of random numbers

Want to begin your speech on a hard-hitting and eye-opening note?

Show the numbers, the figures, and any statistics that serve your purpose for giving the speech.

It is very common to overlook the seriousness of any situation when you aren’t aware of the real extent of its seriousness. But when we have numbers in front of us, there is no more room for being in denial.

Examples of using Statistics or figures as speech openings for students

  • According to the 2019 WWF report, on average, we consume about 1,769 microplastic particles every week. 1769 microplastic particles every single week, can you imagine that?
  • 3.2 million teenagers between the age of 12-17 were depressed in the US as of 2017. Now you can only assume the number has increased over the past 5 years.

7. Powerful  Statements

Powerful statements are statements that try to break any common ideologies held by the public. Another example of a powerful statement is stating a fact or idea that isn’t openly spoken.

The video below is one such example of how the speaker tries to break a perception generally held by the people.

8. Story

How often have we been told to include stories in our speech?

Almost every time isn’t it? So here we are to bombard you yet again by saying that stories are extremely fun and engaging forms of speech openings for students.

You can either share your experience or someone else’s story.

You can also refer to a Recent Conversation by starting your speech with something like “Just the other day as I was walking out of my Philosophy lecture, I asked Mr.Dee about his philosophy on life, and what he said was so eye-opening that I could not wait to share with all of you.”

An adorable example of how to begin a speech with a story is given below to help you get a clearer idea.

Examples of speech openings for students

Speech opening lines for public speaking competitions

When it comes to public speaking competitions like elocutions, speech competitions, or even presentations, it is almost always recommended to begin with self-introduction. The reason is quite simple; there is a high chance that your audience might not know you.

But if you don’t want to begin with a self-introduction, you can start by using any of the alternatives we discussed earlier. Click here to go back and take another peek at it.

Speech Opening Lines for Self-introductions

Speech openings for self-introductions need to be simple, to the point yet descriptive.

Wait a minute? Wasn’t I contradicting myself in that line?

Yes, but that is how opening lines for self-introductions would ideally work. As people expect you to talk about yourself in depth in the rest of your speech, your opening lines would just be a teaser about yourself.

2 most important things to add in your self-introduction opening lines for students
  • Your name
  • What do you do?

Other things that you can talk about in these opening lines include:

  • Where are you from?
  • What is your goal?
  • What does your organization do?
  • A little bit about your family
Examples of opening lines for students

1.

Good morning, I am Reini. I recently graduated from BMU college and have since been working as a Design intern at Desgynopedia. 

2.

Hello and good evening everyone. I am Nicole and this is my team, Alina, Tim, Harold, and Noman. We are in our senior year majoring in Organizational psychology. Today we would like to talk about the 5 main Psychological factors that impact any organization’s overall performance.

3.

Hey, I am Nizan. I am a nerd for Political Science and Greek Philosophy and am currently majoring in the same. My love for the subjects is also the reason why I am here to present a topic I found very intriguing “The injustice behind socrates’ death.”

Funny speech opening lines for students

If you are giving a speech for a competition, one of the most fun ways of opening your speech could be to say “Good morning to the faculty, my friends, and (look at the opponents) others.”

Other funny opening line examples:

  • I almost bunked school today until I realized that this speech carries marks and I sure don’t want to be in a class with our juniors. Just imagine! Who could do that?
  • Hello and good morning to everyone, except the ones who are well prepared for their speeches today.
  • Hello everyone, I’m excited to present my speech on XYZ’s topic today. I mean come on, what could be better than waking up at 7 am on a Monday morning to give a speech?
  • Today I’ll be talking about XYZ because I was told to!

Best Speech Opening Lines by students

1. Chase Dahl

In one of the funniest speech opening lines by students, Chase Dahl opens up by saying “You know I have never understood how imagining the audience naked was supposed to make you less nervous. Honestly, I’m just uncomfortable right now.”

2. Kyle Martin (The King’s Academy)

Yet another Valedictorian speech that has caught our eye is the one given by Kyle Martin. The reason we would suggest you take a look into the opening lines of his speech is so that you can take notes on how beautifully he has described the efforts taken by every department of the institute as he tries to thank them for their efforts.

Presentation Opening Lines

Presentation speeches are a little different compared to your usual speeches and the major reason for that is because now you have access to visuals or your PPT.

Besides some of the ways already discussed above, you can begin the presentation by pointing out a particular slide. You can show your audience a graph, table, pictures, or any other creative and eye-catching ideas that can also turn out to be an amazing presentation opening.

How to start a presentation speech example for students

A few common ways you can open your speech are:

  • Hello everyone, I am Miya. I would first like to thank you all for your time.
  • For those who don’t know me, my name is Nazia, and if you do know me, hello again!
  • Good afternoon to all you wonderful people present here. I am Ryan and as you can see on screen, today I’ll be speaking on “The hazards of drinking from plastic bottles.”

For more examples of opening lines check out 50 Speech Opening Lines.

You might also like to know:

How to start a speech for the student council?

Speeches for student council are usually persuasive. They are your pitch to convince your fellow students to vote for you and help you get the position you are looking for.

So ideally, you should start by addressing everyone in the room. Then make a point to introduce yourself. Once you have introduced yourself, remind the audience why you are speaking which means let them know the position you are campaigning for. Bring up at least 1-2 issues that the students are most concerned about and tell them how if elected you’ll provide solutions to their issues.

Try to end it on a high note and don’t forget to add your campaign slogan.

You can also begin by stating your campaign slogan.

Yet another way to begin your speech for the student council is by challenging your opponent’s point of view or campaign. However, this would work only f you have a better strategy or solutions to the issues raised by your opponents.

Lastly, do something that no one expects from you. Let me share a story here to help you understand this point better. During one of the student council speeches, one candidate asked the audience to stand up, move a step in the front then go back to their seats and settle down. Following this, she said, “My parents told me if I could move the audience, I’d win.” And so she did win!

What is a speech class?

A speech class in high school or college is usually a short course or 1-semester course wherein the student is expected to improve on their public speaking skills along with critical thinking and active listening skills.

It essentially enhances their oral communication skills.

This also reminds me to introduce you to our courses that help enhance your public speaking and communication skills. If you are interested, head to Frantically Speaking.

That’s it!

But if your appetite for learning more about opening speeches isn’t satiated yet, we suggest you go check out our Video on the Powerful speech opening lines.

To Conclude

There are tons of ways to get creative with speech openings for students. From saying a simple good morning to adding stories, quotes, statistics, rhetorical questions, and even silence!

Get creative with your speech openings. As we always say, there are no right or wrong ways of public speaking as such, only a way that suits perfectly for you is the one that is right for you.

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