If you've been chosen to give welcome remarks at an event, it's because people trust you. Show that you deserve that trust by honoring the guests without getting in the way.
Step 1: Make introductions Introduce yourself and start your remarks by thanking everyone for coming. Be cordial, humble, and speak for a couple minutes at the most. Give your welcome remarks genuinely, as if welcoming people into your home.
Step 2: Say names correctly Refer to each special guest, having prepared by writing down their names, including how to pronounce them. Pay tribute to their successes, linking these to the event as you introduce them.
TIP: Double check that all your facts are correct before sharing the information.
Step 3: Thanks contributors Thank those who have made the day possible, from the organizers of the event to the wait staff working the floor.
Step 4: Review topics Reinforce the purpose or goal of the event. Offer a lead-in to the speech topics or events to follow.
TIP: You might want to tease the featured speaker with a light anecdote that gently pokes fun at them. Make sure to ask their permission first -- you want it to be funny for them as well as their future audience.
Step 5: Share your hopes Share your personal hopes, ideas, or plans about the topic of the day.
Step 6: End with good wishes End your speech by wishing all, and especially the guests, an interesting day. Introduce the first speaker, and get out of the way. You are their guide, not the reason they came.
FACT: Though President Eisenhower originally welcomed Fidel Castro to power in public comments, in 1959 he snubbed the Cuban dictator, who had requested a meeting.