Opening remarks warm up the audience for the coming event and often include a welcome to the guests, a preview of the event's itinerary and "thank yous" to volunteers, sponsors and attendees. Opening remarks are the attention grabber for an event and set the tone for the next speaker/activity.
Effective opening remarks capture the audience's attention and get them excited for the different features of an event. Traditional guidelines for an introductory speech are to welcome and thank the guests for arriving, acknowledge important guests, introduce the next speaker, and identify a common goal of the group/event.
A key purpose for the opening is to set the audience at ease. Humor can lighten the mood while offering a rhetorical question will draw the audience into a topic. Since opening remarks lead up to the main feature of an event, professional public speakers recommend following the S-S-S formula for opening remarks. Keep it short, simple, and sincere.
When preparing opening remarks use language that shows respect for the audience and the event, opening remarks written in a formal language will help show respect for a more serious gathering. If the event is casual the language should also match. The final step is to rehearse, this will set an orator's nerves at ease and prevent speaking blunders.