Speech introductions are often an afterthought, hastily thrown together at the last second by someone with little knowledge of the speaker, their speech, or the value for the audience. And yet, speech introductions are critical to the success of a speech. While a strong speech opening is vital, nothing helps establish a speaker’s credibility more than a carefully-crafted and well-delivered introduction. This article gives you a series of practical tips for how to introduce a speaker to position them with the best possible chance to succeed. 1. Answer three core questions.
When you are introducing a speaker, your primary goal is to prepare the audience and get them excited for what they are about to hear. To do this, you must answer these three core questions:
* What is the topic?
* Why is this topic important for this audience?
* Why is the speaker qualified to deliver this talk?
By addressing these three questions, you’ve given the audience a motivation for listening (the topic is important to them), and you’ve reinforced the speaker’s credibility. 2. Prepare and practice adequately.
“While a strong speech opening is vital, nothing helps establish a speaker’s credibility more than a carefully-crafted and well-delivered introduction.” At all costs, avoid thoughts such as “Oh, I don’t need to prepare… I’m just introducing a speaker.” Thoughts like that lead to stumbling, bumbling, off-the-cuff introductions which undermine your credibility and the credibility of the speaker. You should write out (and edit) the full introduction, check it with the speaker, and practice it several times.
3. Memorize it, or minimize your notes.
Try to memorize the introduction; speaking without notes will add to your authority, and the audience will put more weight in your recommendation (that is, to listen to this speaker). If you are unable to memorize the entire introduction, then use as few notes as you can. Be sure you can you deliver the last sentence of your introduction without notes as this will maximize momentum for the speaker. 4. be positive and enthusiastic.
The audience takes cues from you. If you seem disinterested, they will be disinterested. If you are (genuinely) positive and enthusiastic, they will be too. Your choice of words, voice, gestures, and facial expressions should all convey enthusiasm. So, how do you ensure you are enthusiastic?
5. Get to know the speaker.
It is difficult to get the audience excited about the speaker if you aren’t excited yourself. If the speaker is previously unknown to you — for example, suppose you’ve volunteered to introduce speakers at a large industry event — your introduction may lack sincerity. So, get to know the speaker. Google them. Talk with them. Ask others about them. Research the speaker and their expertise until you are excited by the opportunity to introduce them. 6. Eliminate mispronunciations.
A sure way to weaken your own credibility and that of the speaker is to mispronounce their name, the title of their presentation, or any other key terms. Luckily, this is easily avoided through practice and by confirming the correct pronunciation with the speaker well before the presentation. (Don’t wait until you are delivering the introduction to ask them — this looks amateurish.) “A sure way to undermine your own credibility and that of the speaker is to mispronounce their name, the title of their presentation, or any other key terms.”
7. be accurate.
Being accurate is as important as correct pronunciation, perhaps more so. Make sure you know the precise years, facts, or details. If you make factual errors, many speakers will feel an irresistible compulsion to correct you. This is a lousy way for them to begin their speech, and will almost certainly kill their momentum. 8. Don’t alter the speech title.
Many speakers craft their presentation title very carefully, and the words matter to them. The title may be a phrase they want the audience to remember, it may...
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