Awesome opening lines: 20+ more examples for your speeches, from Patricia Fripp (Certified Speaking Professional)

For neat ideas for your next talk’s opening line, here’s a great free resource. It’s a 2-page PDF packed with almost 30 opening lines by Patricia Fripp, CSP – former president of the National Speakers’ Association in the US.

If you’d like an opening line for your own talk, note that I no longer offer specific suggestions in the comments. So please browse the PDF below, and the many suggestions in the comments at the bottom of this post, and apply them to your own situation.

A few months ago I shared a 7-minute video by Patricia where she demonstrated 5 of those opening lines. Well since then, she’s generously published this greatly expanded list of ideas, in a format that’s really quick to take in.

Here are 3 examples:

  • “Just like you I was brought up to believe…”
  • “You know what it’s like when…”
  • “If I were to ask you…”

Draw your audience into what you’re saying

I like those examples because they each use the word “you”, which is a key way to help make your presentation about your audience. By involving people that way, you draw your audience into what you’re saying. You also properly orient your talk to their needs and knowledge – not yours.

So do check this out:

Click here for Patricia’s list of 20+ opening lines

You might also like these example opening lines, which can be especially useful for webinars. Lastly, check out the other documents and links on Patricia’s Handouts page.


Over to you

  • Which is your favourite opening line from Patricia’s list, and why?
  • What’s the best opening line you’ve ever heard or used in a presentation?


See these related posts too


121 thoughts on “Awesome opening lines: 20+ more examples for your speeches, from Patricia Fripp (Certified Speaking Professional)

  1. Pingback: ACEnglish | Pearltrees

  2. I think it’s interesting that instead of answering the great questions you posed at the end of this informative article, people started asking you to give them openers! You actually provided everything they need to creatively and uniquely create their own openers! You were very kind and calm in your responses — I’m impressed!
    My favorite opener for my customer service-related program is a question: How many of you have ever walked out of a place of business and said, “I will NEVER do business with them again!” It gets everyone very emotionally involved — and leads to a great intro into the stat that 68% of the business we lose is because of rudeness or indifference on the part of someone representing the business!
    Thanks for this informative article!


    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful and kind comment, Cher. (Thankfully, the number of people asking me to write their opening line for them has decreased lately, at last!)

      I love your opening line about people refusing to do business with a company again. Both the emotional impact and the fact that your line introduces a statistic makes me wonder if you’d like another post of mine: Start strong, which is about using a scenario, a (startling) statistic, or a story, to get people to react at a gut level.

      Thanks again for dropping by, and I hope to see you again online.


    • Thanks for visiting, Affen. Please note the time written above your comment. It shows that we’re in very different time zones. (I’m sure if you pay for help with your speech, you’ll get very fast service! Free help on the internet tends to be much slower. 😦 )


  3. Hi i am final year student of can you please help me with my college presentation on the topic “customer satisfaction towards whatsapp”?
    how do i introduce myself and make teachers interested in my presentation.?


    • Thanks for your comment Pulak. Please see all the examples in this post (and in the comments), then think carefully about how you might apply one of them to your own situation.

      Also, to make teachers interested, consider expressing your opinion in the title of your talk, and using your talk to explain why you formed that opinion.


  4. can you please give me an awesome introduction to the following speech topic : “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”?


    • Thanks for commenting, Nobia.

      What do you want your audience to do or feel after your talk? A good way to start is to consider that goal, then ask your audience about that action or feeling.

      For more details, please see my other replies and tips below.


  5. Can I get an awesome opening line for my presentation based on Event Management Company consists on Vision, Mission and Objectives of the business.


    • One good approach would be to ask:

      “What does technology mean to you?

      “To me, it means…”

      Then list 2 or 3 things technology does, like letting you carry a video link (your phone) in your pocket so you can connect with countless people worldwide.

      Preferably, touch on some of the specific topics you know will be discussed in the seminar, and mention who’ll host the discussion, so you build excitement about those topics.

      Good luck, and I’d love to hear from you how it goes!


  6. i am tasked to give an introductory speech for our Keynote Speaker with the theme Partner for Change. Can you please give me a best opening lines for this?


  7. I have an interview but its not a speech they will give topic to speak and that could be anything like proudest moment so how can i start and end of any topic.


    • Several years ago a colleague shared this format with me for making a short impromptu comment in an impactful way. It’s called the “3 Rs”:

      • Rallying cry: Start by stating your main point succinctly, using short words and phrases. For instance, you might simply say “My proudest moment was when
      • Reasons: Briefly state your reasons (ideally 3 of them), using vivid words if you can.
      • Restate: To finish, repeat your main point by saying something like “So that’s why I was so proud when

      Good luck, and be sure to practise a lot (by randomly picking a topic from a pile of cue cards) and videoing your efforts (so you can see what worked well and what to work on).


  8. Sir i have to prepare a speech on “gross national happiness is more important than gross national product”
    So please provide me perfect kick start for my speech.


  9. hello everybody I need very strong topic for my final speech in public speaking course. please help me to choose one topic that’s very persuasive…. thank you.


  10. Can somebody please help me out ? I just need a attractive starting lines for my speech that is about “Wildlife conservation and its importance”


    • I think a good approach would be to ask your audience what they think it’d be like to be prime minister.

      While they consider that, look one of them in the eye for a couple of seconds, then look at another person, and then another, staying silent that whole time.

      Finally, after about 5 or 6 seconds, say what you think it’d be like, and use your comments to transition into your speech.

      I also recommend you practise your speech several times, and record it so you can see how long your pause really is. That’ll help you to take your time, which comes across very powerfully to your audience.


  11. I want a beginning of my speech on the day of judgment. I’m going to present a speech on annual speech day. Can you please help me.


  12. Hi there,
    I am going to present my proposal defense on leadership and teachers commitment. Can you help me with a powerful opener? Thank you


  13. Hello ! I want a great opening for my speech for English sessions which be want to present in front of assembly b’coz i want to be a host for that session ! The contents are , one of my friend will say a poem, another friend will say a tongue twister and another one will sing a song and the students want to guess the tittle of the song or the singer. Person who say the correct answer will get a present on the spot.
    Pls Help me !


  14. Hello, I need a good inspirational opening line for the opening invocation for a model united nations program. It will be about people taking risks etc. really need to engage the audience! Thank you so much in advance!


  15. I am writing a speech for high school about how social media is making us anti-social. I am really stuck for a good speech starter that will engage my audience and i will be able to carry on into my speech smoothly from it. Do you have any suggestions?


    • Thanks for your question Emma.

      You could start with a rhetorical question that mentions the audience. For instance, you might say:

      “What does the term ‘being social’ mean to you?
      To me, it means…”

      or the more direct:

      “Do you think social media’s making us anti-social? I do! Let me tell you the 3 main reasons.”


  16. Ah, I wish to use almost every opening line given here. They are certainly one of the best lines ever heard by me but for my presentation based on “Inspiring Business Mentors” where I only have to speak and sit, I am looking for an awe inspiring line to start with! Is it possible for you to suggest me a killer opening which would amaze the students sitting! I am in BBA, First Year & preparing for college presentation!


    • Thanks for stopping by and for commenting, Rukaiya.

      Please see my other replies below. You could also ask a rhetorical question, like “Who inspires you?” or “What do you think it means to be an inspiring mentor?”, then say “For me, …” and go on to explain your own answer to the question, and why you think that way.

      If you can, it’s also good to return to your opening at the end too. For instance, you might end your talk by saying “So that’s who inspires me, and why. Now, who inspires you?


      • Thank you for much. I used “What do think it means to be an inspiring mentor?” line and certainly got praises for a fabulous opening! It has become my regular site to visit for sure. I could use little more help in further two presentations! For both opening & closing ending lines.

        Role of Public Sector Enterprises in India is my topic for Management & Merits/Demerits of Arms & The Man [Bernard Shaw] in English. Would you please help me rock this piece?
        Thank you once again.


        • I’m delighted that you’re finding the posts here useful, so thanks for your feedback Rukaiya. That strongly encourages me to keep working on new posts!

          For the role of public enterprises, it would be good to think of some diverse examples you could mention in your opening, to get people thinking. How does your audience benefit from or interact with those public bodies? As before, it’s good to ask a rhetorical question that includes the word “you”.

          With the merits and demerits of Arms & The Man, what did you like and dislike about it? Again, you could start with a rhetorical question, such as asking what your audience liked and disliked. Then tell them your viewpoint.

          In either talk, it might also be good to enumerate the points you make – and ideally make 3 of them. That way, you’ll give your talk a clear structure that helps people to follow your message, and helps you to organise and remember your thoughts, too!


          • Our presentations were postponed to 19th September due to some reasons. Well, getting to the point; our presentations aren’t such like people can communicate. Since it’s a basic stage, we just have to speak up for 3 minutes-5 minutes [max] and take our seats! There’s no communication, ques-ans format or anything like that! Normally, I see examples of people starting with “Good afternoon, I am here for a short presentation regarding..blah blah!” and ends with “Thank you, have a good day!” My purpose is to start it differently. And end it more nicely. Which would make the audience little excited to get some new stuff.

            I tried thinking a lot but can’t come up with something that may differ. Hence, once again I would like you to provide me some examples from your own experience based on my description! I would really appreciate it! Thank you 🙂


  17. So I was elected as class President and I have to make a speech dedicated to the higher level.. Can you help me for my opening line? Hope you reply as soon as possible..


    • By the higher level, do you mean students in the year above you?

      If so, one good approach would be to focus on the future, as seen by your audience or by the specific group your speech is dedicated to.

      Also, here are good ways your opening line can get people to imagine what your talk means for them:

      • Ask a rhetorical question.
      • Include the word “you”.

      To see what I mean, in a couple of other posts you can find an example for use by:

      Thanks for your question, and I wish you every success with your talk.
      (Afterwards, if you’d be willing to share with us a bit about how it went, I’m sure you and other readers would benefit from the reflection, and I’d be happy to offer more suggestions to make it a bit easier next time.)


    • Thanks for your comment.

      How much does the audience know about the topic? I ask because one way that Patricia Fripp suggests starting (in the PDF linked from this page) is to say:

      “Would it interest you to know…?”

      Or you could just say either of these lines:

      • “Did you know…?”
      • “Please raise your hand if you know…”

      Either way, follow up with an interesting fact about the topic, so you
      intrigue your audience to hear more.


  18. For my speech I did 11 most deadly creatures. My opening was, by the time it has taken you to clap me on stage 1 poor soul has died of malaria😟. It was a bit longer tho. I got the idea from TED talks and made a few tweaks 👍🏻he has very good starters 😃👍


    • Thanks for your comment Olivia.

      Two types of opening lines are often useful:

      • Asking a rhetorical question with the word “you” in it.
      • Or sparking the audience’s imagination.

      For instance, if going to Egypt was on your bucket list, you might ask:

      “Have you ever been to the Egyptian pyramids?”

      Or you might say:

      “Imagine standing on the crest of a dune overlooking the Egyptian pyramids.”

      After that, pause for several seconds to let people reflect on what you’ve said, and then link to the rest of your speech with a statement like:

      “I’ve been fascinated by the Middle East since seeing the movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ as a kid. I find the pyramids especially magical because…”

      I hope that helps!


  19. A good opening for your speech gets your audience curious and excited. For example, if you were doing a speech on dreams, you could say “Hey why did you wake me up? I was having a really good dream!” And then you could explain what your speech is about.

    Hope that helped!


    • Thanks very much for adding another example, Adelia.

      I think you’re absolutely right about making people curious, and doing that right from the start. In fact intriguing people is a key part of the FiRST framework that I use to write my talks.

      I like that your example asks a question, and uses the word “you”. Mind you, because people didn’t wake you, they might get a bit confused. (And they probably hope you weren’t sleeping right before your talk!)

      For a talk I’m working on right now, the opening line is:

      “Have you ever heard a dragon speak? [Pause]
      By the look on your faces, I can tell you’re a bit puzzled, so let me explain.”

      Again, that asks what people sometimes call a you-focused question, and aims to intrigue the audience.

      Anyway, thanks for joining the discussion, and I’d love to see you around the blog again any time.


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