The step-by-step guide to a perfect opening speech at your gala

Giving a speech is a real nightmare for some people. Which words are the right ones? Who may I address personally and who must I not forget? Which topics are taboo and how is a good opening speech structured?? These and other questions are answered in the following article. It shows you how to create your opening speech for your gala step by step and how to prepare for it in a relaxed way.

What is the difference between an opening speech and a classic speech?

A speech is given on many occasions. At a wedding, the groom gives a speech before the buffet is opened. At a company anniversary, the boss thanks his employees for the good cooperation, at the open day, the entrepreneur welcomes the guests who are eager to explore, and at a gala, you give the first speech of the day. The opening speech is also called a welcome speech, because you greet your guests with "Ladies and Gentlemen". The gala is opened with your speech. So the timing is crucial. The opening speech, also known as the welcome speech, is the first item on the program for your gala. It should be

  • briefly,
  • concise
  • and introductory

Be and don’t steal the show from the keynote speaker. Therefore, it is important what you say in your opening speech and what words you choose to use.

What goes into a good opening speech?

An opening speech is according to the classic pattern

  • Introduction
  • Main part
  • Closing

structured and therefore does not differ from any other type of speech. The greeting should be in the foreground. What can your guests expect at the gala? Which persons should be mentioned by name? What is the flow of your gala? For what reason does the gala take place? These and other questions will be asked by your guests while you are giving your speech. Therefore, it is important that you answer these questions during your opening speech.

When to give your opening speech?

The timing of your opening speech is crucial. It should not be chosen too early, but also not too late. Then the ladies and gentlemen in the hall will no longer listen to you. The best time is after the guests have fully arrived. You can start your opening speech about 30 minutes after the official start. To make yourself heard by the ladies and gentlemen, the background music should be turned off. With a microphone, the ladies and gentlemen present can follow you better.

This is why good preparation is important

To find the right words when writing the speech and to grab your audience, a good preparation is important. Take a look at sample texts of a successful opening speech beforehand. You can also look at speeches from previous years of your gala and let them guide you. In that case it is important not to copy it and choose your own words. Your speech should be authentic and present your opinion and feelings. Realize why so many people accepted your invitation and listen to you at the gala.

What should be the tone of your opening speech??

When writing your opening speech, think about what tone it should have. First and foremost, it is important to deliver a professional speech. At an exclusive event such as a gala, a good tone is appropriate. You should avoid crude jokes and the like. Nevertheless, your opening speech can be relaxed, inspiring and entertaining. Involve your audience and put yourself in your guests’ shoes. How do the people present react to your speech? How are the other speeches structured and what tone do they follow?? If you keep this in mind, you can only win and find the right words.

The greeting

A good opening speech always starts with the words

  • "Ladies and Gentlemen",
  • "Dearly beloved",
  • "Dear guests"
  • etc.

This will make you heard and get the full attention of your guests. During the welcome, you can also mention important people by name who are responsible for this gala or who have a special significance. When preparing for the speech, don’t forget important people who will feel left out afterwards. This includes z. B. also guests of honor. When enumerating, you should keep to the hierarchy in order to appear professional. Finally, you can proceed by age or gender. In this way, all those present are mentioned and made to feel welcome.

After the bullet point and warm welcome, it’s time to introduce yourself:

  • Who are you?
  • Why are you giving the opening speech??

If everyone knows you, you can omit this point. This saves time, which is important in a speech. Because your guests will quickly feel bored with long ramblings. It is therefore necessary to convince them of the opposite and to grab them with a lively speech.

The introduction should be short and concise. Then it goes seamlessly into the main part.

The main part

The main body is the most important point of your speech and should be both

  • funny,
  • inspiring,
  • thanking
  • and future-oriented

its. Put the occasion for the event in the foreground. Point out what has happened in the past. A short review of the time so far and the work done encourages those present and motivates them to continue working together. At the same time you can make thank you speeches. These two building blocks belong in any case in a successful opening speech.

For a more relaxed speech, you can list anecdotes from your time together. The funny stories will make your guests smile or even laugh. This way your opening speech will be remembered for a long time and your guests will feel well entertained. They can identify with the anecdotes and feel connected to your gala.

It is also important to have an optimistic outlook. You can achieve this by looking into the future.

The main part should not be too long and should bring a certain amount of tension. Your guests should look forward to the further course of the evening. For this, you can outline a few points of the program, but do not list them in detail yet. What highlights are already waiting for your guests? With the announcement for the course of the evening, your guests can figure out an approximate schedule. When they can expect what? This keeps the excitement going throughout the evening.

The conclusion

The conclusion should be short and crisp, just like the introduction. To mark the end of your speech, you can thank everyone present for coming in large numbers. The acknowledgements should not be too rambling, as there is often another main speech thanking all the important people for their special achievements.

Last but not least you can dare a look into the future or make an appeal to all guests to deal with the topic of the Gala.

Tips and tricks

Writing as well as giving a speech needs to be learned. In the following you will find numerous tips and tricks on how to master this with flying colors.

Incorporate quotes

To find the right words at the beginning of a speech, you can include not only anecdotes, but also quotes. This can be quotes from famous people, but also from employees or guests present. The quote can appear over and over again in your speech and is like a common thread. However, not too many quotes should be mentioned in order to keep the overview. This also applies to numbers such as years.

The pace of speech

The pace of speech is crucial for a successful speech. It should be neither too fast nor too slow. Otherwise your guests will not come along or they will feel bored. Watch videos of politicians, pastors or other speakers who choose an appropriate speaking tempo.

Practice your opening speech in front of the mirror

To feel more confident, you can practice your opening speech in front of a mirror. How does it make you feel? What is your attitude? If you don’t know how you come across to others, you can rehearse your opening speech in front of a small audience. Otherwise, it makes sense to record your speech on video. This way you can always look at what you can improve and which points work well.

Cards or free speech?

When you give a speech, you can write it on small cards. The speech should be listed in bullet points, so that you can speak freely. Skilled speakers can do without cards altogether, which makes the whole thing seem more spontaneous.

What do you put on?

You should dress according to the occasion. Choose your favorite socks or fall back on your favorite piece of jewelry. This has a calming effect on you.

Do breathing exercises

Just before the speech, you can resort to breathing techniques to calm you down. They provide you with enough oxygen that will take away your nervousness. Also place a glass of water by the lectern to avoid a dry throat. On sweets and co. you should refrain from using, so that you can be better understood.


Your opening speech is an important part of your gala. It not only opens the event, but shows which guests are present and why the gala is taking place. In addition, individual program points are listed and the course of the gala is presented. When naming guests, consider the hierarchy and include all guests.

A look into the past is just as important as an optimistic look into the future. Anecdotes and quotations loosen up your speech, which should build up a certain tension. It leads into the evening, which sounds promising. When speaking, you should feel comfortable and not sound nervous. To achieve this, you can use the following tips and tricks. This will help you to make the perfect opening speech for your upcoming gala.

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