1-3. In the introduction of a talk by what means can you arouse interest for the subject?
1 Arousing interest. The introduction of a talk should arouse interest in the subject. It ought to capture the attention of your audience and prepare them to give favorable consideration to what follows. To accomplish this, it is necessary to show the value of your subject to the audience.
2 One of the best ways to arouse interest in a talk is to get your audience involved. Let them realize that this information is vital to them, that it concerns their life. In doing so you must start from the level of the audience. That means that what you say should be within the general knowledge of those listening. It might be an illustration, or a problem, or a series of questions. But it should always be something that will be familiar to your audience so that they can understand it and apply it to themselves.
3 It may be necessary, in some instances, to overcome prejudice in your introduction. If the subject being discussed is highly controversial, this may be particularly true. In such cases your introduction is vital if you are to hold your audience until the arguments establishing your point can be effectively covered. In the house-to-house ministry it is often possible to overcome a stock objection by mentioning it first in a tactful way and then proceeding with the material you wish to discuss.
4-6. What other factors will help our introductions to arouse interest?
4 What you say is always of primary importance. But to arouse interest through your introduction, how you say it is probably more important than in almost any other part of the talk. For this reason your introduction requires careful advance preparation not only as to what you are going to say but as to the manner in which you intend to deliver it.
5 Ordinarily, short, simple sentences will best accomplish your purpose in the introduction. Since word choice is so vital in accomplishing your objective in the short time available for the introduction, you might find it an advantage to prepare the first two or three sentences quite carefully. Write them out in your notes so that you can read them, or memorize them so that your opening words will carry all the impact they deserve and require. Besides, this will give you more confidence at the start and an opportunity to gain sufficient composure to carry on extemporaneously.
6 Just a few words further as regards delivery of your introduction, although your counselor will not be concerned with these points in connection with this speech quality. If you feel nervous, slow down and speak in a low-pitched voice. Speak with confidence, but avoid any impression of being dogmatic. Such bearing may alienate your audience at the outset.
7. When should you prepare your introduction?
7 Although the introduction to a talk is the first thing presented, it is usually prepared most effectively after the body of the talk has been well organized. This will allow you to know what it would be best to say in order to introduce properly the material that you have prepared.
8-10. How can we make our introductions appropriate to the theme?
8 Appropriate to theme. Only if your introduction is appropriate to the theme will it lead into the subject effectively. Great care must be exercised to use in the introduction only what contributes to your purpose in speaking. It should, of course, be in keeping with the dignity of the Kingdom message and designed not to offend those who may be strangers in the audience.
9 Not only must your introduction lead into the subject of your discussion, but it must clearly present the particular aspect of the material that you are going to handle. This means limiting your subject to a specific theme and then, in some way, identifying that theme as much as is practical in your introduction. If you do not state the theme specifically, you might, in some instances, use key or theme words in the introduction. In this way your audience will not be expecting you to cover some other aspects of the subject that the title of your talk might suggest.
10 All talks should be a unified whole, not starting off with one thing and winding up with another. Furthermore, this matter of an introduction being appropriate to the theme must be balanced against making the introduction interest-arousing. In other words, the theme should not be sacrificed simply for a good story at the outset. The purpose of the talk should dominate in the selection of your material. And it must fit and cohere with the body of the talk.
11-14. In what way can we determine if the introduction is of proper length?
11 Of proper length. How long should an introduction be? There is no specific answer that will fit all situations. The length of an introduction depends upon the time allowed for the subject itself, the purpose of the talk, the audience involved and many similar considerations.
12 In fact, in listening to a talk, it should usually be difficult, for the sake of continuity, to mark a clearly defined division between the introduction and the body. This is the problem your counselor will have in handling this quality on your Speech Counsel slip. Every student uses some introductory remarks in his talk, but the counselor will be interested in this: Is the introduction so rambling, so detailed, so lengthy, that your audience becomes restless before you get into the main arguments to be presented?
13 An introduction should proceed in a definite, orderly and rapid sequence of thought toward the subject without sacrificing interest-arousing qualities. It must be complete, with no gaps. This requires careful thought, because if your start is so remote from the subject that it demands lengthy and detailed explanation, then it would be best to revise your introduction and perhaps find a new starting point.
14 If it is difficult to find a marked division between the introduction and the body of the talk, then the chances are that your introduction is of proper length. It will indicate that you have so well brought your audience into the material that they are listening to your arguments without actually being aware of it. On the other hand, if they begin to wonder when you are going to get to the point, then you can be sure your introduction is too long. This is often a weakness in door-to-door presentations, where there is often a need to vary the length of your introductions from one door to the next.
15, 16. How long should the introduction of a talk be when it is part of a symposium?
15 When you are giving the only talk on the program, or giving a student talk, your introduction might be longer than on other occasions. But if your talk is part of a symposium, or if it is a part on a service meeting, then your introduction can be brief and to the point because it is a part of a unified whole that has already been introduced. Much time is consumed unnecessarily by lengthy, involved introductions. It is the body of the talk that is going to convey the ideas you have to present.
16 In summary, your introduction is only to establish contact, arouse interest and lead into the subject you are going to discuss. Do this with as much dispatch as is practicable and then get on into the real meat of your subject.