Presentation Skills – Don’t Take Chances With Your Speaker Introduction

Imagine your are about to give a speech. You’ve done months of research. The meeting room is filled to capacity. You wait anxiously as the Master of Ceremonies (MC) begins to introduce you.

The MC says, “Ladies and gentleman, I’d like to introduce our next speaker. I don’t know much about him. But, I think his speech has something to do with public speaking skills.”

Imagine how you feel as the speaker. What might be going through your mind as you take the stage? How do you think the audience feels? Does it make a good first impression?

The words used during your introduction need to create a positive first impression.

Don’t leave that introduction to chance. Take control and write a powerful introduction for your speech. By writing a proper introduction, you make it easy for the Conference Organizer or Master of Ceremonies to introduce you.

The purpose of an introduction is to give the audience a few key points about yourself, and create enthusiasm for your presentation.

A speaker’s introduction is not a “bio.” It shouldn’t tell your entire life story. I once saw an MC tell several humorous life stories about their friend, the speaker. By the time the MC was done, there was only 30 minutes left in the speaker’s original 45 minute time slot. But worse, the MC used several stories the speaker was planning to tell for himself!

A speaker’s introduction is also not a “resume.” I once saw a speaker submit an “intro” filled with every company, every degree/designation and every minor award, they had ever earned. It was five minutes long. Worse, it basically told the audience, “I’m smart. Your dumb. Listen to me.” That hardened the audience against him, before he even took the stage.

Here are 7 key tips (and some bonus advice) for writing an effective speaker’s introduction:

1) Your introduction should be written word for word to make it easy for the MC to read

2) It should be less than 1 minute long (that’s less than 120 words)

3) It should start with your name and speech title

4) Include how to pronounce your name, if it’s difficult to say

5) Briefly list a reason why you have credibility on your topic. For example, “Author of…”, “Experience in….” or “Past clients include…”

6) Briefly list one personal item about you. For example, “Mike recently got married to the woman of his dreams.”

7) End with your name again, and speech title. For example, “It’s my pleasure to introduce Mike Aoki, who will give us secrets to, ‘Designing and Delivering Persuasive Presentations.’”

Bonus advice:

8) Send your intro to the MC in advance so they can study it ahead of time

9) Take a copy with you, in case the MC forgets their copy

10) Ask the MC to read it word-for-word from your printout. That will avoid any awkward or unnecessary ad-libbing by the introducer

Use these tips to create a great first impression before your next speech.

© Copyright 2010 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

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