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How to Write a Hook for a Speech


The beginning of a speech is vital for getting your audience's attention. Without a good introductory hook, listeners may tune out and miss your purpose. The introduction contains background information listeners need about the topic, a preview of the points you will cover, a statement to establish your credibility with regard to the topic and your thesis to illustrate your purpose. However, the speech needs to begin with an attention-getter. The type of hook varies depending upon the type of speech and the topic for your presentation.

Three Ways to Capture an Audience

Begin with a quotation from a master in the field you are speaking or writing about, or from an individual from popular culture. This demonstrates that you have prior knowledge and credibility as a speaker or writer. The use of a quotation also provides the audience with a frame of reference to begin to understand the argument. For instance, a speech that is going to argue for racial equality may begin with a quote from Marin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks to give your audience someone to connect with.

Ask the audience a question. This is a powerful rhetorical device because it makes the audience part of the conversation. Of course, the audience does not have to literally respond to your question. Questions also give the audience a chance to think about the topic.

Quote statistics and facts - hard evidence that cannot be debated because it is proven by logic and science. Audiences are apt to believe a speaker who uses credible facts as evidence. They tend to listen to a speaker who opens with this type of information. This option is useful for speeches surrounding the fields of science, health and politics, which rely on statistics.

About the Author

Nicole A. Williams is from Boston, Mass. She currently teaches at Bridgewater State University and Massasoit Community College. Her research interests include web 2.0 technologies, multimodal composing, the construction of space in the composition classroom and political campaign rhetoric. Nicole holds a Master of Arts in rhetoric and composition from Ball State University.

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