Introductions for any event follow the same principle: set the tone while listing any necessary background information, give the piece's title and author, and have a clever quip to transition back into the piece (a question, powerful statement, etc.). While a relatively small aspect of your performance, the introduction is by no means something to write minutes prior to stepping off the bus. This tiny component has the potential to be the butterfly that alters grand events. The introduction is the only place where the audience can see you unmasked; where your work ethic is paraded. Distinguishing between a thought-out and slapped together introduction is not challenging most of the time. Thus, writing a good introduction is an investment that will support you throughout the season. Each event offers ideas on how to start an introduction. A Declamation's nature serves as a guide that can aid you when writer's block sets in.
Declamations often deal with a specific moment in history. Capture that moment in the beginning of your introduction. Do some research to see why this speech was pivotal and learn the basics regarding the historical event. After you have become knowledgeable writing a few sentences on the background of the speech and its relevance to history should come easily.
Or, maybe your Declamation was written about a person? Again, do some research on who this person was and why they were important enough to be remembered. If the Declamation focuses on a person and a particular idea regarding that person, you should focus on the givens that the speech contains. If you are speaking about a well-known figure it might be in your best interest to not include the facts everyone already knows but offer something new.
This same basic principle of research and summarization applies to most every topic. Doing a Declamation on a product, controversial issue of morality, an idea, or commencement speech matters little. Take what the essential is from the speech, research it, and inform your listeners of key points about the topic not mentioned in the speech. The process is relatively the same. What can be the variation is how creative you become on the delivery of the background intelligence.
You may choose to start with a question of how life would be if "X" never existed. Or a quote can be given that is in relation to the subject at hand. Maybe a personal account of how "X" warms your heart is more your style. If you wish to link a past event to one current, your introduction is where to bridge the two times. Whichever you choose, be sure it is appropriate for the tone of the speech. For instance you would not tell a joke in your introduction if the piece was serious.
Look to your Declamation and it will instruct you on which is the best procedure for writing an introduction. Placing pressure on yourself to write the best introduction in Forensics history will hinder you. Relax and think of your introduction as that little blurb on the back of a movie case. Ask yourself what you would like to know about the piece if you had to watch it, not perform, and the words will come.