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Speech to Open an Event

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 6 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
Speech Open Event Opening Speech

Being asked to open an event – whether it’s a small local “do” or a major national occasion – is certainly flattering and it’s an important role to take on. After all, the opening speech should help get the day off to a good start and can make the difference between the assembled crowd feeling buoyed up to spend money and have a good time, or bored to tears before anything’s even started.

Exactly what you say obviously depends on the type of occasion and the people involved, but as the following template shows, although the actual words may be different, from village fetes to major charity events, the general points remain pretty much the same.

So, if you’ve been asked to open the local Christmas Fair or the next Upper-Crust Charity Ball, follow these simple guidelines and you won’t go far wrong.

Opening Words

A good opening speech doesn’t have to be long – in fact, it’s almost always very much better if it isn’t. However, it does need to grab the audience’s attention and interest them quickly, with a few well-chosen words.
  • Say how honoured you are to have been asked
  • Explain a little about the charity or organisation
  • What does it mean to you?
Example: (Name any specific dignitaries or VIPs), ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to come here to open your (charity auction / village fete / event) today. When you first asked me, I was (delighted / honoured but a little surprised) because (as you know, this is a cause that is dear to my heart / I have to admit I had never actually heard of zongular tendonitis before, much less that there was a charity devoted to it) so I’ve been (looking forward to this moment / busily finding out as much as I can about it) ever since.

Addressing The Audience

The best kinds of event openings don’t just talk at the audience, they engage with them and encourage everyone to take part in the event. This section of the speech should be slightly inspirational and directed at the people who have braved the weather and turned up to do their bit. However, don’t overdo it – no hard pressure selling, or bad impressions of TV Game Show hosts, please!
  • Make those who have come feel welcome and mention the turnout – how big it is (if it is); if it isn’t, say how good it is of those who have come to be there
  • List some of the key attractions of the event, especially lesser known or particularly interesting ones
  • Get everyone involved in helping “the cause” – whether that’s raising money for charity or simply helping make the event a great success – and motivate them to participate
Example: It’s great to see (such a large number of / as many) people here this afternoon (in this glorious / despite the dreadful) weather, to help (with this excellent cause / make the event a success) and there’s no shortage of (items to bid on / stalls to visit / activities to try) from (antique crystal glassware to a range of paintings from local artists / bottle tombola to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey / ferret racing to welly-wanging). There’s also plenty of (ice cream and cold drinks / coffee and hot sausage rolls) in the refreshment tent so we should all be able to (cool down / warm up) as the need arises. Last (year / time there was one of these events) I know (more than £10,000 was raised for charity / there was a record number of entries in ‘dog with the waggiest tail’ competition) and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this (year / time) will do.

Now Open The Thing!

The essence of a good opening speech is that it should be welcoming, informative and short – and then get on with opening the event! People will generally listen to you very politely – but don’t try their patience for too long. Make any announcements you’ve been asked to make and then just declare the thing open.
  • Make any important announcements or pass on any information from the organisers
  • Wish everyone an enjoyable time
  • Make it clear that the event is now open
Example: I know you’re all keen to get started but, before we do, I’ve been asked to make a couple of quick announcements. Firstly, just in case anyone should need it – and of course we all hope nobody does – First Aid treatment is available in the (foyer / tent behind the children’s play area) and secondly the organisers have asked me to remind everyone that dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. So now, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to declare this (charity auction / village fete / event) well and truly open – enjoy yourselves!

Now you’ve delivered your rousing opening speech, don’t forget to show a bit of an interest in what’s going on, before you head off to the refreshment tent in search of some of that coffee – or ice cream – for yourself.

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[Add a Comment]
Thank you so much for providing information for Opening and Closing Remarks.It provided a guideline and the know how!
willou - 21-Mar-16 @ 1:07 PM
Great words gave me the clear cut idea about this opening..thanks team
Siraj - 10-Jan-16 @ 5:53 AM
Hema - Your Question:
Got a clear idea by reading these hints. Thank you!

Our Response:
Thanks for letting us know.
GreatSpeech - 24-Sep-15 @ 12:43 PM
Got a clear idea by reading these hints... Thank you!
Hema - 22-Sep-15 @ 4:34 PM
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