How to Introduce A Speaker and Set Them Up for Success
My friend and fellow speech coach Sim Wyeth is the author of Persuasive Public Speaking. We were discussing how to help our clients eliminate boring presentations. Here are some practical suggestions on what to do, and not do, when introducing a speaker.
First, you must be brief.
Avoid all stale and stilted phrases such as, “It is indeed an honor…,” “A man who needs no introduction…” and “We are gathered here tonight…”
Do not embarrass the speaker with exaggerated predictions of the marvelous treat that awaits the audience.
Never exaggerate your speaker’s qualifications.
Avoid giving a speaker a false start.
For example, “…and so I take great pleasure in introducing Paul Smith…” (Mr. Smith rises to his feet.) “…a man who is supremely qualified… blah, blah, blah…” (Mr. Smith drops back into his chair.)
Finally, do not steal the spotlight.
Frustrated public often strive to give the audience a sample of what it is missing because the program committee did not have the good judgment to schedule them for the main speech.
If you are a speaker, do yourself and your introducer a favor… write your introduction yourself. Remember, your introduction is not your bio.
I present mine in 18-point type and bullets rather than paragraphs. This makes it easier to read. Send a copy in advance and carry a copy with you.
Sims Wyeth is the president of Sims Wyeth & Co., specializing in presentation skills and public speaking training in order to give accomplished people the knowledge and skill they need to become accomplished speakers.
Thank you, Sims!
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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.
On this theme, you and your readers might be amused by a hilarious video clip from a real party conference illustrating how NOT to introduce a speaker: http://bit.ly/caqRG0 …from which there are also links to clips showing how to do it!
About trying not to steal the spotlight, this rule should be moderated on a case-by-case basis. Case in point, the keynote speaker for the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium is usually introduced by the editor, Rich Simon. The speakers are generally in a class of their own, and Rich matches them with introductions that often leave them saying “Wow! I have never had such a wonderful introduction before.”
Listen to one of those, if you feel so inclined.