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The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It * How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis

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Types of openings

Ways to begin a speech are almost unlimited, but they seem to me to fall into five main categories:

  1. Novelty openings

  2. Dramatic openings

  3. Question openings

  4. Humorous openings

  5. Reference openings

Not every opening will fit neatly into one of these five categories, and some openings might have characteristics of more than one category.

Once you have decided on a topic for your speech and what you want the speech to accomplish, look at the five categories of openings to determine whether one or more will help you make a good beginning.

Now, let's take a look at some examples.

Novelty openings

Some years ago, I attended a meeting of a men's club at which the speaker was a businessman on a crusade. This man, who had survived a serious bout ...

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