It is proper etiquette to welcome an individual or group to an organization or event with a welcome speech. Although it may be considered a formality, a welcome speech can make people feel supported and motivated.
When you're put in charge of greeting a new addition to your team or receiving attendees at a conference, you have to think carefully about writing an effective welcome speech. When you take the time to write one, you will instantly win over the support and affection of a crowd, no matter the occasion.
We give you some tips below on what to include in your welcome speech as well as some sample speeches for different occasions.
Formatting Your Welcome Speech
As a short, encouraging speech is preferable, keep it under five minutes. Any longer and people's interest may start to wane. To begin, you'll want to give a warm greeting. Next, move onto some background information about why you're all together on this day and finish with what will take place after the initial greetings are done.
This basic outline works for a welcome speech at any event:
- Greet everyone
- Remind them why you've gathered together
- Amp up the crowd
- If this is a welcome address for a business organization, share some goals that will motivate and excite everyone about why they've gathered together.
- If you're introducing a new team member, encourage everyone to accept the new member(s) of the group. This will initiate bonding.
- Leave everyone energized about what's to come, using your welcome speech to start everything on a positive note.
Party, Special Event, or Conference
- If this is a welcome speech for a party, a special event, or a conference, be sure to welcome all the attendees and thank them for coming.
- Use this as an opportunity to amp up the crowd and get everyone excited for what's to come.
- If you're using this opportunity to make a special announcement or introduce a guest speaker, then you can move onto pertinent details that will inform the crowd about the benefit of your special announcement.
Sample Welcome Speeches
Of course, the format of your speech will depend upon the occasion. Let's take a look at three common occurrences where you might be tasked with rousing the crowd or making someone feel very welcome.
A Conference Kickoff
One of the best opportunities for a warm welcome speech is the kickoff to a conference, retreat, or other corporate event. The best time to deliver your speech is during the opening remarks. Here's a sample:
Look at all those smiling faces! Welcome, everybody! It's with tremendous pleasure that I welcome you to our first annual corporate conference. Larry, Heather, and I decided to create this three-day event as a way to gather everyone together and bond in a way that the everyday 9-to-5 doesn't permit.
Over the next few days, we'll host workshops that'll help you hone in on the skills you've been interested in learning. But, more importantly, we'll spend valuable one-on-one time with each and every one of you so that you know your voice is not only being heard, but valued.
We're going to dive right in and split into our workshops in just a moment. But, be sure you don't use up all your steam already because, tonight, we're going to take over the local mini-golf course and compete for a grand prize aboard Royal Carribean cruises. Not a bad excuse for putting in a few vacation days, right?
Anyway, I can't express our gratitude enough. These next few days are going to be all about you because, let's face it, without you, there'd be no ABC Company. Alright! Here's Allison with the low down on where to go and which workshop to enjoy first. Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!
A New Member of the Team
Here is a sample welcome speech in a corporate environment where a new member is being introduced to a team:
Welcome to our first team meeting of the year! I want you to know how deeply appreciative I am for all the hard work and dedication you put forth each and every day. Because of your incredible diligence, we've been able to add a new member to our work family.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to Abigail Young. She comes to us from an organization we all know and love - Writers' Haven. With over 15 years in the publishing industry, we're excited to welcome her to oversee and expand our team of editors.
Her area of expertise pertains to the world of finance, but I know you'll enjoy working with her in all our initiatives. Together, let's give a resounding round of applause for the newest member of our team, and a new member of our dedicated work family.
A Special Guest Speaker
There may come a time when you have the opportunity to welcome someone to an event or conference, such as a motivational speaker or expert in the field. Here's a sample speech:
I'm so excited to see your smiling faces at this year's team retreat! We're going to have an amazing weekend together. Just wait until we get to the team building event out on the lake!
In the meantime, I have a very special guest I'd like to introduce to the group. Many of you may already know her by name. Ms. Rachel Lee is one of the most prolific self-development writers out there. Her books have had a tremendous impact on a lot of people, leading to more balanced personal and professional lives.
She's prepared a short presentation containing some very helpful tips that each and every one of us can benefit from. So, let's give a warm round of applause for Ms. Rachel Lee!
Making the Speech Effective
Everything in life can be a little bit smoother with research. No matter the occasion for the welcome speech, do a little research beforehand so you can prepare everyone with solid information for what is to come.
Get people's names right: If you're addressing anyone in particular, make sure you get their titles and names correct, including how to pronounce their names correctly.
Use the right tone for your audience: Is it a formal or informal gathering? The success of your speech will be dependent on striking the right tone. You're ramping up the crowd, but if it's a serious event you don't want to get too effusive. If it's a fun event you don't want to be stiff or seem like you're reading off a monotonous list of "fun facts."
Be brief: Your goal is to get everyone excited about what's to come, not explain everything that will happen in detail. It can be annoying and frustrating to listen to a long, drawn-out speech that will only spoil future events, meetings, and ideas.
What to Avoid in Your Speech
It's just as important to know what not to include in your speech if you want to leave people inspired.
Don't give too much detail: Since this is a basic, general welcome, try to steer clear of detailed information. Your speech should serve as a blanketed welcome to everyone in the crowd. Now's not the time to address specific matters but, rather, to address everyone in the audience and make them feel welcome and wanted.
Don't talk for too long: A welcome speech is short and sweet. Deliver the grand welcome, thank everyone for gathering together, and offer a few breadcrumbs that will get everyone excited.
Don't use offensive language: In the spirit of keeping everyone excited and optimistic, be sure to steer clear of any jokes or comments that could be considered profane or in poor taste.
Engage Your Audience
Deliver your speech when people will be most attentive. If you're welcoming or introducing someone to the group, do it when everything is just starting and people are gathering. This being said, you shouldn't have to work too hard to engage your audience.
Be sincere: Your sincerity should shine through and remind everyone why they should be excited to be there.
Keep a positive, upbeat attitude: Your speech should feel authentic and honest. Remain friendly and courteous to all.
Use eye contact: One of the best ways to appear welcoming is to maintain eye contact. Scan the crowd; look into as many eyes as possible. Simply stepping to the front of the room and reading off a sheet of paper will fall very flat.
End Your Speech With a Bang
Of course, the focus of your welcome address is the audience, but be sure to end your short speech with a little information on what will follow - be it a brunch, a formal lecture, or another activity. You can also share some big goals of the organization or event.
While we're on the subject of light and encouraging speeches, take a look at our tips on Birthday Speech Writing. Another crowd-pleaser could be just around your corner.