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2. Audience-Centered Introductions

You can also build your introduction around the audience members. In this type of opening, you involve them by making specific references to them, asking them to do things, or trying to elicit an emotional reaction from them. A. Provoke or compliment them

The compliment must be honest and specific. The more spe­cific you make it, the more effective it will be. Eric Ruben-stein, as Board Chairman and President of the Single Room Operators Association, complimented his audience in a speech to Job Resources, Inc.:

I am delighted to be here. Let me compliment your fine orga­nization, Job Resources, on having counseled and job-trained more than 7,000 individuals, and having also obtained per­manent employment for over 2,000 men and women since 1979. Clearly much of your success is due to the hard work and dedication of your founder and Executive Director, Ms. Michael Rooney. Job Resources' track record is especially impressive because you only assist disabled individuals, eco­nomically disadvantaged people, and displaced workers. Your nonprofit agency truly helps needy people train for and ob­tain jobs, and this is appreciated.

B. Show your knowledge of them and develop a common bond

Anytime you can show how you have something in common with the audience, that's good. John Rindlaub, Chairman and CEO of Seafirst Bank, used this type of opening in a speech to an insurance industry conference:

I appreciate the invitation to be here ... since I've always had a warm spot in my heart for the insurance industry. I now that's hard to believe. But there's a reason. My father was Controller of American Re-Insurance ... and one of the founders, and an Executive Vice President of the Municipal Bonds Insurance Association.

For 20 years, around the dinner table, I heard stories about the insurance industry. So it's a pleasure to be here today

with insurance professionals.

C. Emphasize the importance of your subject

Here's how former U. S. Surgeon General Antonia C. Novel-lo referred to the occasion in the opening of a speech at the re­gional meeting for Universal Salt Lodization Toward the Elimi­nation of Iodine Deficiency Disorders in the Americas, held in

Quito, Ecuador:

It is a pleasure to be here. More than a pleasure, it is a thrill. If that sounds dramatic, I need remind you of why we are here. This is evolution, human history in the making. There is a palpable sense of progress in this room, at this confer­ence, in many of the rooms and buildings I have visited while traveling throughout Latin America over the past several months. There is the power of knowledge in this room, the excitement of knowing that a momentous decision about the future of humankind is ready for the taking. We have made the slow ascent up the learning curve of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, and now we are nearing its peak: There is no more pressing need for research or investigation into the problem, and it is no longer necessary to search for solutions. We are ready to act.


  1. Introduce the Speaker Today, saying kind or controversial words about him/her. Let the Speaker reintroduce him/her­self if necessary.

  2. Write an introduction to your speech to make the audience focus its full attention on you and hang on your every word. Resort to the categories of the openings.

  3. Listen to the speakers and choose the most effective intro­ductions.

Exercise 19

Fill in the gaps in the following introduction with one word only.

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