The way a speaker is introduced can help establish the speaker’s credibility and get the audience engaged even before the speaker begins his or her speech. However, introducing a speaker with aplomb is another speaking skill in itself and one that a lot of people get wrong. Let’s learn how you too can introduce a speaker with aplomb the next time you’re running an event.
Get your details right!
Very often when I am introduced at Toastmasters event, introducers get my title wrong. I am used to it and it doesn’t faze me anymore. However, missing out on small details can break a chance to make a great first impression. Even before the meeting is due to start, check the following details with the speaker you’re introducing:
- Spelling and pronunciation of the speaker’s name. If this is a complicated or unusual name, practice reading it out loud beforehand. This a small detail that both helps the speaker and yourself making a great impression.
- Title of the speech or presentation. There is nothing worse than the speaker correcting you after you’ve introduced him or her.
- The credentials and achievements of the speaker. If you’ve been given a long biography beforehand, focus on the essentials but check with the speaker first.
Build-up the speaker
Your task as the introducer is to answer these basic questions:
- Why is the speaker delivering this speech?
- Why should the audience listen and pay attention to the speech?
- What is the topic of the speech and why it matters?
In answering these basic questions, you need to build-up the speaker and create anticipation for the audience. Your objective is very clear and you can accomplish it in a variety of ways. The first one is through a short bio, likely provided in advance. The second one is through a story about the speaker. Another way is by using humour and jokes. Not all methods may work in every situation or event. Regardless of what you do, focus on the essentials of the speaker and the topic. Do highlight the achievements of the speaker in his or her field. You also need to have an understanding of the main idea contained in the speech.
Remember that your enthusiasm and delivery will shine through and be visible to the audience. This is where using your voice effectively can help you. As you pronounce the speaker’s name, make sure to raise your voice to a crescendo as the speaker enters the stage.
Keep it short and practice it
Your aim should be to do all of the above in one minute or less. This means that your introduction will be limited to 100 words maximum. This, by the way, is by no means an upper limit, if your introduction is limited to 60 words, that’s even better! Having no more than 3 core facts about the speaker will help.
Aim not to use notes while delivering your introduction and practice it as much as you can to memorise it. Not using notes on the day will free to your hands to do other things, especially if you’re holding a microphone.