The key to giving an effective welcome speech for any occasion is to focus on engaging the audience, point out the occasion for the gathering, include any information relevant to the occasion and be sincere and open throughout. A well-received welcome speech is typically warm, somewhat humorous and short.
A good welcome speech generally starts with the speaker introducing herself to the gathering and acknowledging the occasion that called all those present together. If particular individuals are being welcomed or introduced in the speech, it is important for the speaker to know how to pronounce all their names. However, generally it is best to address the welcome to the entire group so that no one feels left out. Because a welcome speech is often the opening to a program of events or other speeches, the audience appreciates hearing a rundown of what will follow the welcome. This section of the speech can be used as a sort of teaser to build anticipation in the audience for what they can expect.
The delivery of a welcome speech is as important as the words that comprise the speech. Speakers should place themselves in a location where they can be seen and heard clearly by the whole audience and address their hearers with a confident and friendly tone.