Our Speaker Needs No Introduction . . .

If you really want to get off to a bad start with your next speaker introduction, begin with the above title as your opening. If that statement is true, you should not be standing there introducing the speaker. Instead, you should simply say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Vice President Mike Pence.”

Instead, here are some tools to help insure success when you introduce your next speaker.

Keep the introduction short. Stick to a maximum of two minutes, depending on how well the speaker is known to the audience. The primary purpose of your introduction is to qualify the speaker as an expert on the topic to be discussed. If the person is already accepted as an expert, the introduction can be less than a minute.

Avoid platitudes like the title of this article. Another would be “Without further ado.…” What exactly is “further ado?” Use language that describes what is actually going to happen. “Our speaker will explain…,” or “Today’s speaker will talk about ….” Never say the speaker is the greatest or the best; superlatives about a speaker that are stated before the audience can make its own judgment may cause resistance from audience members. Such statements also put unnecessary pressure on the speaker. Base what you say on facts:  “Our speaker is in much demand. She gives about 50 speeches each year on this topic.”

Outline the introduction: Subject, Significance, and Speaker or the three S’s. Begin by telling the audience what topic the speaker will address. “Tonight we are going to learn about how to overcome stage fright in giving a presentation.”  Then emphasize why the audience should listen. “We have all experienced butterflies in our stomachs. Our speaker is going to give us techniques on how to control our anxieties while speaking.” Finally, tell about the speaker. This section is usually the bulk of the introduction. Choose facts that will make the audience want to listen to this person.

Two final factors will help the speaker get off to a great start. Check any unfamiliar pronunciation of names and places with the speaker. When a speaker’s name is mispronounced in the introduction, he/she does not know whether to ignore the mistake or call attention to it and embarrass the introducer. Lastly, bring the speaker to the audience in a positive manner. Mention the speaker’s name last. Say the name clearly, and begin the applause when you finish. Use a statement like, “Please join me in welcoming Chris Davis” [applause].

The next time you introduce a speaker with these suggestions in mind, your organization will increase its credibility, you will appear professional, and your speaker will love you for it.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. He presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. Contact Steve today for priority scheduling! (859) 441-6520 or email info@SBoyd.com

1 Comment

  1. Tom Hailey says:

    Well said. Thank you for this post.

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