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Welcome speech

How to prepare an opening address in 4 easy steps

A welcome speech marks the start of any special event or occasion requiring a formal opening. It could be a meeting, a lecture, a workshop, or a celebration.

If you've got the honor of preparing and delivering one, follow the steps.

You'll find everything you need: notes on language choice, a speech template, a sample speech, a blank downloadable speech outline planner, as well as extra tips on writing and rehearsing.

A good welcome speech guarantee

"A good welcome speech unites and sets the tone for an event."

Here's your 4 steps. Click the quick link to:

  1. Use the easily adaptable template to ensure you cover off everything you need to
  2. Read the sample speech
  3. Download and complete the greeting address planner
  4. Write, using the notes you made in the plan outline.

Getting the focus and tone right

The focus is always the audience and your goal is to make them look forward to whatever is coming next. You are uniting and bringing them together in the common purpose at the heart of the occasion.

To strike the right tone in the language you use consider the audience and the event.

  • Is it fun?
  • Is it serious?

Think about that common interest everybody shares - their reason from being there. This will give you clues to guide your language choice.

What's right?

Is it formal language, informal or somewhere in between?

Is this a "Gidday, howzitgoin?" or a "Good morning, how lovely to see you?" event?

1. The foundation or speech template

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To be effective, to fulfill its purpose, your speech must meet expected, as well as specific, requirements dictated by the occasion.

Standard welcome speech content guidelines

The essential elements to cover in your opening remarks are:

  • to specifically acknowledge and welcome any important guests
  • to generally welcome all the guests, stating the name of the event and host and thank them for coming
  • to give a brief introduction of the host
  • to give a brief introduction of the occasion
  • to introduce the next speaker if appropriate
  • to conclude having made everybody feel at ease, eagerly anticipating what is to come

This content forms a basic welcome speech template. Pick, and alter, the elements you need to suit your occasion.

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2. Welcome speech sample

Now let's put all the elements above into some simple, yet effective, opening remarks you can adapt for your own use.

*(The speech is pure fiction! I made it up to show you how it's done.)

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Example speech

"Sue-Ellen Thomas, Jim Smith, Jane Brown and all of our guests, welcome.

We are delighted to have you here to participate and share in the 5th annual Children's Day hosted by Parents United. Thank you for coming. That many of you travel long distances serves to remind us all just how important our work is.

Parents United is committed to actively raising the quality of life for every child. We want all children, regardless of race, creed or circumstance to achieve their full potential. Our task is to make it possible. Our mission is to provide practical, step by step assistance.

This year our theme is literacy. We've named the day 'Readers by Right'.

Thanks to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights we are aware of 'rights' in many spheres, including education. That 1948 agreement declared in Article 26 education should be compulsory and free for children. That goal, is as pertinent today as it was then. It's a goal I know we all share - the full development of every child. As a body Parents United recognizes good reading skills established in childhood as the foundation of fulfilling, and ongoing education.

We are honored to have Sue-Ellen Thomas, Jim Smith and Jane Brown with us today. All three are esteemed specialists in teaching young children to read. Sue-Ellen has worked for many years with educational authorities to establish programs that put in place the necessary pre-reading skills. Her efforts need no introduction. The results speak for themselves. Jim and Jane bring their passion and knowledge of how to reach those in our communities who are frequently overlooked or bypassed. Their work among English-as-a-second-language families has bridged gaps that were deep dark chasms.

Prepare yourself to be challenged, excited and inspired.

And before I handover to Lesley Watts, our coordinator for 'Readers by Right', who will outline the day's events, I want to say once more on behalf of the Parents United organizing committee, welcome. It's a pleasure to see so many of you here."

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3. Get your welcome speech started

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Save yourself time

Shortcut wondering "Should I say this?" or 

"Maybe I should say that?" and, "Then again there's also ..."

Get a welcome speech planner

Download and print the special greeting address planner.

It includes ALL the necessary ingredients you've just read about that go into preparing a successful speech. It's simple to use and easily filled out. Once it's done writing your speech will be a lot less hassle as you'll have the core content ready to work with.

Get a hand with vocabulary

And if you'd like a hand with words to use, click the link to find a large selection of adaptable welcoming phrases with samples.

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4. Write

Extra tips to help you get your writing right

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  • Ensure you've got the names of all the special guests you need to mention specifically and, that you know how to pronounce them.
  • Double check the remarks you're going to make about your guests are factually correct.
  • Use your introduction of them/or the event, as a "teaser" for what is going to come. It will help create anticipation in the audience. Don't ruin it by giving too much away! Just enough to tempt and no more. 
  • Unless you've been requested to do otherwise, keep it brief. One to two minutes is generally sufficient.

Use the S-S-S formula for success: Short, Simple and Sincere. Your listeners will appreciate it.

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Related very helpful pages

Help rehearsing your welcome speech

Young man standing on a stage

Get step by step instructions on how to rehearse including how to make and use cue cards.

And please do rehearse. It makes a huge difference! You'll sound, and look better. Taking the time to rehearse shows respect for yourself, the audience and the event. Truly.

Help to manage pre-speech jitters

Nervous? If you're shaking in your boots at the thought of having to speak in front of an audience, click overcoming public speaking fear for assistance. Take your time. Follow the steps and you will be fine.

Help with other types of welcome speeches

Or perhaps you need welcome to the family speeches or a church welcome speech sample? Click the links to find easily adaptable examples.