As a professional speaker, I’ve learned over the years the importance of a good introduction and how detrimental a bad intro can be to the start of even a good presentation. We’ve all probably been in an audience and experienced an introduction that is in itself a mini-speech. These are the intros that go on and on forever for the sake of… who knows. In extreme cases, the audience begins to grow restless… some want to throw things while others begin chanting, “Hey, we didn’t come to hear you!” The bottom line is that a speaker’s introduction plays a huge role in how the speaker is perceived by the audience (before the speaker ever steps onto the platform). In contrast, a great introduction is worth its weight in gold – long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting (there’s a joke here, but not in this forum).
Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to the Colorado Chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA Colorado) and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction from Glenn Thayer. Sidebar… speaking to a group of professional speakers is nerve-racking but they’re the greatest audiences in the world because they get it. Glenn Thayer is a professional master of ceremonies, a voice talent and all around nice guy. When you listen to his recorded introduction, you’ll see why he’s constantly asked to record greeting messages on everyone’s cell phone. If you need a true pro whose job it is to make you look good, you need to learn more about Glenn Thayer.
Here are a few tips on how to write or present a great introduction…
- Use the KISS principle – Keep It Short and Simple. Use the introduction to help the audience learn a little bit about the speaker and to tease the audience to make them want to learn more from the speaker.
- If the speaker gives you an introduction, PLEASE USE IT. Professional speakers all know the importance of a good introduction and they spend a tremendous amount of time fretting over each and every word.
- Don’t add your own materials to a speaker’s introduction. Check with the speaker before you add your own material to his or her introduction. The funny story or anecdote may or may not help the speaker establish rapport with the audience. If the speaker wrote it, use it.
- If the speaker did not provide you with an introduction, write your own… but don’t just “wing it.” If is speaker is an amateur or doesn’t have an intro, it’s your job as the master of ceremonies to write your own. Take a minute to interview the speaker with just a few questions you think might be interesting to the audience. Remember, shorter is better when it comes to an introduction.
- Remember the job of the emcee… warm up the audience, make sure the audience is in a good mood and make the speaker or entertainer look great.
Learn more about my interactive keynote presentations and hands-on science workshops for teachers by visiting our website or watch the short video below to see first hand how to use Flying Potatoes and Exploding Soda to Create Unforgettable Learning Experiences.