Connect: Introduction to Introduction

            Not only are the first sentences of your presentation important, but also the last words of whoever is introducing you. Those last words have a lot to do with how effective you are in the beginning of your speech.

            One way to insure a good transition is to write out what you want the introducer to say—especially the last part which leads into your opening remarks.   The introducer, if left on his or her own, might mispronounce your name or the name of your company, or end with something inane such as “Here he is,” or “I’m sure you will enjoy what he has to say,” or “I guess that’s about it.”

            Instead, carefully plan your beginning to respond to what you have written for the introducer to end with. Here is how I will sometimes make that happen in my speeches.

            The introduction points out that I played basketball in high school and our nickname was "The Shawswick Farmers." It even mentions that our favorite cheer was “we plow them under.” I assume the audience is not sure how true that is. (I admit it seems a bit hokey and ridiculous now.) Once I’m on stage, my first words are:  “I know your questions here. Yes, we were the farmers!  Yes, we plowed them under. And I would add we had farmer’s night and everyone wore bib overalls with a red bandanna handkerchief hanging out the back pocket.” 

            This is a smooth transition to my opening and my response allows me to begin with smiles and chuckles from the audience—always a good start for a speaker.

            In thinking about what you want to say in your presentation, make sure you include in your preparation both introductions: the one by your introducer and the one where you begin your speech. Do what you can to insure the success of the introducer who helps you get off to a good start.

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) 866-5693 or email

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