A kick-off lecture is a speech that is scheduled to take place at the start of an event.

Usually, the kick-off lecture is the first highlight in the dramaturgy of a event and fulfills several different functions. The task of the kick-off lecture is to open the event and introduce the topic. The kick-off lecture serves to get the audience in the right mood for the event. In addition it directs the attention of the listeners to the topic, offers a preview of the following lectures, arouses thereby curiosity and generates positive tension.

Typically, the kick-off lecture will cover the different parts of the event in a mental arc, work out the red thread and embed the topic in the relevant context.

Ideally, the kick-off lecture is the first highlight in the event’s course due to the way in which it is presented and its own thematic focus. The kick-off lecture is a special form of the kick-off speech or opening speech.

People who give an kick-off lecture are referred to as speakers, official speakers or keynote speakers.

How to Cite

The definition outlined above was first published in: Jörn Lengsfeld: Glossary of Public Speaking. Please refer to the original publication if you want to cite the text.