So, you may think that writing a welcome address is a tedious task which can never be enjoyable, pleasant or even creative. In fact, you never know until you try. If you have never written such speeches, you may not even have the least idea of how easy and exciting such kind of writing may be. Are you ready to discover your inner talent?
Many people have this specific fear when they need to speak in public. They cannot gather words into sentences and neither can they manage to be charming and smart when in front of an audience. This fear may be fought with the help of short speeches prepared in advance and some mental relaxation.
What is a welcome speech and what should one say it for?
It is a really good idea to figure out what a welcome address speech is before you start to write one. First of all, you may easily guess that such a set of words is used to open a formal event. Such events are meetings of different types, celebrations, lectures, and so on. The main idea is to turn to the group of people in a way determined by the atmosphere of the event, greet them, and explain what the event is being held for.
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One of the main features of such a discourse is its tone. The way you turn to the audience shows the general mood of the event. If you are really formal, the visitors will subconsciously understand that this is not a jolly party. On the other hand, if you start, for example, a wedding party with a couple of jokes, everyone will feel relaxed and free to have a lot of fun.
But how do you choose the right tone? Well, judge the audience, the character of the event, and the general atmosphere you would like to create. Informal discourses will work in the following cases:
- You are part of the audience: the audience is made up of your friends, relatives, or you simply know these people, and they know you well;
- You are of more or less the same age with your audience;
- You share the same views and interests with the audience (it is good if you are opening a meeting of like-minded people with similar political, religious, cultural, and other opinions).
Formal tones should be used in the following situations:
- You do not know the audience, and the purpose of the meeting does not suggest that you will become familiar or even friends;
- The audience consists of people of different ages;
- The audience is not gathered by the unity of their interests and views;
- The very purpose of the event is far away from being relaxed.
Of course, nobody will shower you with rotten tomatoes if you make an insignificant mistake in the tone of your spoken words, but the entire atmosphere of the event may be shaken. It is like a smooth orchestra concert where you dive into music suddenly interrupted by an amateur singer who does not match the notes.
How to write a welcome address correctly
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When you have determined the type of your audience and the mood of the event, you can start writing the discourse you will address at the guests. It is not very hard but neither is it easy if you do it for the first time. You should not panic or feel desperate if you do not manage to complete this task at once. You may spoil several sheets of paper before you compose something that suits the occasion.
You should start the welcoming speech with a greeting. If your event is formal, use well-known phrases like, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen”. Such an address is one of the most universal and will suit practically any occasion, even if the event is held at a very high level.
A more friendly greeting is, “Good evening, everyone”, and the most relaxed ones will sound like, “Hello”, “Hey”, and so on. These are the greetings you can and should use for less serious events like a birthday party with your good friends and relatives.
Sometimes, you can use a formal greeting for an informal situation and crack a couple of jokes right after it. Such a step will create an atmosphere of fun and relaxation.
After the greeting phrase, you need to express your emotions in a way like, “I am happy to see you all here this evening.” Sometimes, if the situation demands more, you can expand the phrase with something like, “Our family appreciates your presence here at such a wonderful/difficult/exciting moment”, depending on the occasion.
It is crucial to sound sincere and interested even if the event is serious and important, and even if you are not feeling even the trace of these emotions in reality. Do not forget to introduce yourself and say who you are at this event and always make eye contact with the audience. It will help you look sincere, involved, and persuasive.
Mention the chief guest
Sometimes, it is necessary to create a welcome address for a chief guest. This often happens in colleges, schools, universities and other facilities which are attended by special guests. These people are a part of the whole audience, but they need to be mentioned separately as their presence is an honour to the facility or it is essential from other points of view.
When voicing out your discourse, you will need to make a gesture to show people the place where the honourable guest is and ask the audience to greet the person with applause. This part should be absolutely smooth. Double-check all the facts about the person you are mentioning, make sure you know about all their titles, degrees, professions, and so on, and also learn how to pronounce the name of this guest correctly, even if they are from your country and speak your language.
If the guest is meant to speak, represent, or so on during the event, you should voice out this intention. As a person who opens the evening, you need to know this for sure. For example, you may say, “We are especially grateful to our honourable guest, Professor of Mathematics from Paris, Monsieur Jean Baptist, who will be speaking during our meeting tonight”.
Sometimes, special guests come in clusters. For instance, it can be, “Let us welcome our dear guests, the students from the University of Lagos”. In this case, it is not necessary to name each of them, unless there is somebody very famous for some specific achievements or so.
Introduce the goal of the event and give credits
This point should be short because it is supposed that everyone already knows why they are all attending the event, but it is just a part of the official ritual. If the event is organised or funded by some company, mention them in your welcome address. If the party is meant to celebrate something, just say that everybody is welcome to have fun and rejoice. There is no need to speak much here because it will sound odd and boring.
If the event is held and organised within a particular circle of people (a religious community, a club, a political group, a school class, etc.), it makes sense to mention those who have given the organisation their dedicated efforts. For example, “This party would not have taken place today without the selfless efforts of Fatima and Maria. Let us thank them for their tireless work.”
Highlight the program
Every event has a program, and guests need to know what to expect. No matter what kind of party you are introducing, announce the most important parts at once. For example, at a wedding party, dancing will start at seven, and the cake will be cut at nine-thirty. At a conference, the key speeches will commence at six, eight, and eight-forty. This structure will help your guests feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the event.
Move towards the end
Since such a welcome address is meant to be energetic and short, you should not stuff it with unnecessary details. After you announce the key points of the event, you may smoothly move towards the closing point. Here, it would be nice to say, “I hope that you will enjoy today’s evening together” or something like that. In a welcome speech for a school function, you may say something like, “We hope that you will enjoy this meeting/seminar/discussion club greatly and that you will wish to continue attending it in future”.
If there is a speaker who is going to take the stage right after you, it may be a good idea to say a couple of phrases about this person. It will be enough to mention the name, something important about the speaker (for example, the home country, the long way this person has made to attend the event, or so), and the subject of his or her speech.
The last words
Express your gratitude to the audience for attending, to speakers for coming, to organisers for their efforts, and so on. However, remember about being quick and very close to the point. Even if you say, “Thank you for attending this party/conference/meeting/speaking club tonight,” it will be good enough.
Any welcome address tips?
First of all, when writing any text that will be spoken or even read in front of a big audience, you should remember the golden rule of “S-S-S”, which means “Sincere-Short-Simple”. This is what your audience expects from you.
Even if you are opening a scientific conference, your discourse should not resemble scientific work. Make it clear and very simple. Even official phrases will sound stylish and pleasant if you make them short and straightforward.
Forget about complicated “smart” words. You will hardly look smart while pronouncing the words you do not understand. For this reason, you should never give preference to complicated words if there are simpler synonyms.
When you think that the text is ready, proofread it carefully and double-check all the facts you mention in it. Then, imagine that you are a listener from the audience and try to listen to yourself as another person. How do you sound? Is everything in your speech clear enough?
This done, run a timer. Check out the time it takes you to pronounce the text in a regular tempo, without long pauses. It should be something between two and five minutes. Any longer and people will simply get bored, and their attention will be distracted. This is definitely what you do not need, so be as short as you can.
If you see that it takes too much time, start cutting out the least essential phrases and remarks. Just ask yourself, whether this or that fact is really important to your listeners and whether they will feel deprived of something vital if you do not say these couple of sentences. Make sure that the sense remains untouched and whole after this cutting.
If you feel that you will not fail, remember the text by heart and pronounce it as a real actor. However, no matter how good your memory is, you may need to have a card with your lines somewhere at hand. Things happen, and every single word that slips out of your memory will ruin the impression you have been struggling to make.
Several useful welcome speech samples
While it may all seem very easy when explained like above, writing can be a true challenge. Check out these samples of welcome speeches and use them when you need to compose something like this for diverse situations:
- Wedding welcome speech. Compose a flawless party opener that will create a lovely atmosphere
- A school event discourse. Formal enough and very informative!
- Speaking out your welcome address at a university. Discover how smart it can be!
- Need to open a business event? No problem if you have a smart sample
- Want to learn how to write a speech for any occasion? You just need a good guide
Hopefully, this short guide into the world of welcome address writing and samples will be helpful to you, and you will pronounce the best words ever at any event and in front of any audience.
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