Introducing a Speaker

What should you say?

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Eventually, either for business or personal activities, you will serve as a host of some event where it will fall on you to introduce the speakers. Every speaker deserves a thoughtful and helpful introduction – it helps the speaker, and the audience, establish a common bond.

Short But Sweet
An introduction is a small speech, usually less than a minute. Though short, it still contains all the elements of a full speech:

  • An opening. It grabs the audience’s attention and makes them aware of the importance of the upcoming subject.
  • A body. It explains why the subject was chosen, why the speaker is qualified to address it, why it is appropriate for this audience and why this time is appropriate to discuss it.
  • A conclusion. In this case, it paves the way for the speaker to begin the presentation.

A Public Speaking Ritual
Consider the introduction as a brief ritual or ceremony, accomplishing some important goals. Such a ceremony:

Is transitional. It marks a speaker’s transition from being a part of the group to stepping in front of it, leading its thinking.

  • Guides thinking. It sets the tone for the topic at hand, so the group will know what to look for.
  • Adds power. It contributes to the speaker’s authority by establishing that he or she speaks from preparation, knowledge or experience.
  • Sets the mood. For example, if a serious subject was presented by the previous speaker, the introduction can prepare the audience for a more light-hearted speech to follow.

So, as the introducer, what should you say? Speeches of introduction should be graceful, witty and fun…fun to hear and fun to give! Leave out claims that the speaker is especially brilliant, successful or a "good speaker." Instead, list his or her experience and expertise as it relates to the subject of the speech. Don’t steal the show – make it brief and all about the speaker. Know the topic of the speech and try to briefly set the mood for the audience. You’ll know you’re doing your job well when you end your introduction just as audience interest is peaking.

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