Speeches are not something everyone is good at. They can be tough and a little nerve wracking. Probably the only thing worse than being the host and having to introduce the guest or keynote speaker would be being the keynote speaker. When you look at things in that sort of light, everything doesn't look so bad. But still a welcoming speech is often in order and here are some tips on making a good one.
Research your guest. It is a good idea to know what your guest is going to talk about. A simple "Everyone, meet Bob Jones. He is here to talk about something, and do something with something," is not going to work. Being able to say, "We have with us tonight, Bob Jones; a famous golfer from Georgia. Bob is going to show us how to put effectively and offer legal advice." See the difference? Now you look interested, Bob Jones is more at ease and you've made a new friend.
Another welcoming speech blunder is to go too much into depth about what the keynote speaker is going to be discussing. This will bore the audience to tears and put your guest in a bad position. Introduce him by name, announce his topic, mention where he's from, tell his credentials and get out of the way. Your job is done.
For a speech needed to welcome guests to your specific event this is even easier. Telling a joke is often something everyone does. This breaks the ice some and has become the hallmark of a warm welcome speech. In fact a bad speech is often offset by a good and appropriate joke.
Of course this depends on the event as well. Welcoming guests to a wake with a statement that begins with "On the way over I...." or some other anecdotal tale will probably brand you as the most insensitive individual on the face of the planet. This is common sense you would think, but nerves do strange things to people.
Remember the rule of KIS is all things; Keep It Simple. Again the formula for a successful welcoming speech to your guests is this:
- Welcome them to the event.
- State what the event is.
- Tell a joke related to the event when appropriate.
- State the activities or high points of your event.
- Acknowledge some of the crowd.
- Acknowledge the people who helped make the event happen.
- Thank everyone for coming.
- Wish them all a good night.