I'm writing a persuasive four-to-five-minute cause/effect speech on deforestation. What would be a good introduction to this topic?

An introduction to a speech about the causes and effects of deforestation might feature a story, some statistics, a quotation from an expert or someone affected by deforestation, or a question.

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You've got a great topic for a speech here, but it can be difficult to come up with an introduction that both catches your audience's attention and conveys something meaningful about the topic. For a speech about the causes and effects of deforestation, you have a few possible options for...

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You've got a great topic for a speech here, but it can be difficult to come up with an introduction that both catches your audience's attention and conveys something meaningful about the topic. For a speech about the causes and effects of deforestation, you have a few possible options for a striking introduction.

First, you might begin with a story. Research a bit, and see if you can find a tale of deforestation that might help your audience invest emotionally in your speech. You might talk about the plight of animals pushed from their forest homes or the farmers affected by runoff and other difficulties brought on by deforestation. Depending on your point of view, you might even try another perspective and tell the story from the viewpoint of the companies participating in the deforestation.

If a story doesn't work for you, you could try opening with some statistics. Perhaps your research has turned up some shocking numbers, like how many trees have been cleared over a particular period. Don't use too many statistics in your introduction, though. You might overwhelm your audience. Try for two or three significantly shocking numbers.

Maybe you've come across an interesting quotation from an expert or from someone affected by deforestation. This would also make a good introduction to your speech. Be sure to explain the context of the quotation, though, even if you begin with it, so you don't leave your audience hanging and wondering who said it.

Finally, you might try asking a question, especially if this is a speech that encourages audience participation. You might ask your audience if anyone can guess how many acres of forest are cleared each year or if anyone can list a few of the effects of deforestation. This kind of introduction won't work in every context, but sometimes it can be fun, and it's a great way to draw your audience into your speech.

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