The speech of introduction is pretty common. You see them at nearly all speaking events, from casual business presentations to large conferences. In these scenarios, a featured or keynote speaker is introduced by someone else. This extends hospitality to a visiting speaker. It informs the audience of the speaker’s credibility. And it shows a level of respect or esteem for the speaker.
If you are asked to introduce a speaker, take the opportunity. These short speeches provide valuable experience in front of an audience. And if you follow these 4 tips, you’ll find speeches of introduction can be both simple to prepare and deliver.
Many times, a speech of introduction serves as a transition. Maybe another speaker has just finished her message. Or perhaps there was a meal or a meet-and-greet before the presentation. The goal of the introducing speaker is to focus the audience’s attention on the message to come. This means transitioning from whatever came before, to whatever comes after. Make sure your efforts to get the audience’s attention match the context of the event, though. And remember that it’s not your job to be a standup comedian or the highlight of the event. It’s your job to shine the spotlight on the speaker to come. But do help the audience transition with an interesting opening statement or a gracious “thank you” to those who are in attendance.
One of your main goals when introducing a speaker is to present the audience with knowledge of his/her accomplishments, education, or experience that is relevant to the event or the presentation. It always a little awkward when a speaker has to do that for him or herself, so this is where the speech of introduction serves an important purpose. In order to do this, you may need to contact the speaker or conduct some research prior to the event. Thoughtfully select the information you relay about the speaker. And remember, it’s still a speech. It shouldn’t sound like you are reading straight from a résumé or a list. Some experts recommend personalizing the introduction if you know the speaker well.
Above all, make sure that what you say about the speaker is correct. You never want the speaker to have to begin her message by correcting something you said in your introduction. A great way to avoid this is to make sure to approve what you plan to say with the person you are introducing. There may be revisions that the speaker wants to make to your introduction. Be open to any changes she wants to make because, ultimately, you are shaping the initial impression the audience has of that speaker.
Generally, a speech of introduction should be no longer than 2 minutes, and many times, under a minute. While your introduction should be short, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. You should still write great content and practice your speech. In addition, it’s probably a good idea to talk briefly with the speaker you are introducing about the transition from your speech to his. Find out what tone his presentation takes in the beginning. This way you aren’t telling jokes if he’s going to create a serious tone or vice versa. Also, let him know what your last line will be so that he knows when to come on stage. And discuss the transition (which way you will exit, whether you will shake hands, etc.), so everything flows smoothly.
With these 4 tips, your brief speech of introduction should serve its purpose of setting the stage for the upcoming speaker. Look for opportunities like this to increase your speaking experience. The more time you spend talking in front of an audience, the more comfortable you’ll be when it’s your turn to be the keynote.
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