I have been attending talks for the past 2 to 3 years after acknowledging that there is a need for anyone who works in any industry to always have a continuing education plan in order for them to be relevant in the industry. The talks thatI attended ranged from those where there are more than one people on stage, better known as forums to the one dominated by one person.
It can be a talk by academicians, industry expert, ex-Prime Minister, ex-President of USA, Governor of Cental Banks, motivational speakers and various other people. Some have the eloquency needed for such occassion and some are just plain boring. Some knows how to grip an audience (which was usually politician) and some made sure you are asleep within minutes. Not all are born speakers. And this is the fallacy.
These non-eloquent speaker are sometimes are the one who has knowledge to pass to you. They are sometimes the only person who ever did something or has done research on something or have answers to a few other things.
I think, the best way to start off a talk is by cracking a joke. And please practice it. Especially if you are not good at it. I have this one CEO of a new telecommunication industry who is a doctor by profession telling a joke which fall so flat that people actually sniggered at the the back. It was that bad.
Jokes can help break the ice but it must be tailored to the occassion. All those Will Farrell, Ben Stiller and all those comedian's movies showing them doing public speaking and making a fool of themselves? All those are true in reality too. If you do not take it seriously that some of us are born not to speak as eloquent as Donald Trump.
Crack a joke but be good at it.