If you are a member of a business or social organization, such as the Lions, the Rotary, a chamber of commerce, BNI or another type of leads or referral group, there is the possibility that you will be responsible for introducing a speaker at one of your meetings or functions. Known as the introductory speech, there are 4 things you need to do to accomplish your goal effectively.
1. Keep it brief. While your role is important, your audience is there to hear the person you are introducing, not you. Consider yourself the conduit between your audience and the speaker. The longer you talk, the more impatient your audience will be. It is also important to remember that your guest speaker is primed and ready to go. By delaying his/her appearance with a long-winded introduction, you are leaving your listeners ‘hanging in wait.’ For the sake of your audience and your guest, keep your introduction short.
2. Use only accurate material. Get a brief bio from your speaker beforehand and stick to the facts. Practice this material out loud so that you are comfortable with your words. Be able to pronounce the individual’s name properly as well as any other information that is pertinent to your presentation. There is nothing worse than listening to someone stumble over pronunciations or words because of lack of knowledge or practice.
3. Adapt your material to the audience, the occasion and the speaker. Giving personal or private information about the speaker is in poor taste; however, relaying something the speaker said to you in advance, if appropriate to the occasion, would be perfectly permissible. In your introduction, describe your speaker by giving information that is relevant to the occasion and to your audience. By the same token, were you to introduce the same speaker to an entirely audience for a different event, you introduction would probably be different.
4. Create anticipation with your words. Delivering a brief bio on the speaker is certainly appropriate but adding some exciting words about what they will learn, hear, or experience creates anticipation. Another means of creating excitement is to save the speaker’s name to the very end of your introduction. In doing so, you create drama. A dramatic introductory speech is much more exciting than a summary of the individual’s biography.
Remember, your job in the introductory speech is to excite your audience in anticipation of the guest speaker. By building enthusiasm into your delivery, you pave the way for your audience to sincerely and heartily welcome the guest. Keep it brief, practice it beforehand, stay true to your words, and create some drama when you introduce the speaker.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels is President of Voice Dynamic as well as Selfgrowth's Official Guide to Public Speaking. Holding private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills, she also offers Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement.
For more information on voice and presentation skills, click here for her 4-minute presentation, The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speakers