Introductions are important for engaging your audience whether you are delivering an informational or persuasive speech. There are quite a few ways to begin, and the subject matter of the speech should be a consideration so that the tone is appropriate.
A well-chosen quotation related to your topic can enhance your credibility, and there are many websites that enable you to search by topic or author. For example, one could begin a speech on the importance of listening with this quotation from Epictetus: "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."
A humorous anecdote can be appropriate with the right topic. Choosing one can be tricky because people’s taste in humor varies greatly. It must be tasteful and inoffensive. Opt for gentle or self-effacing humor rather than snark. Be sure to practice it so your delivery will be confident and seamless.
A startling statistic or statement can be an effective attention-getter. To enhance your credibility, cite the source of the information and be sure it is accurate.
A rhetorical question is a time-honored technique for intriguing an audience. Avoid questions that can polarize or embarrass, and don’t wait for an answer.
A poll can be effective if handled correctly. It is risky as the votes (by a show of hands) may not turn out as you expect. Be prepared for all the different ways the vote can go.