Introducing a Speaker

Every Speaker deserves a thoughtful and helpful introduction. The best introductions are two-way, just as personal introductions are. You introduce the Speaker to the audience and the audience to the Speaker, establishing a common bond between them, a basis of mutual views and interests.

An introduction is a mini-speech with the same elements as a prepared speech with:

AN OPENING, which attracts the audiences attention and makes them aware of the importance of the upcoming subject.

A BODY, explaining:
Why this subject?
Why this speaker?
Why this audience?
Why at this time?

A CONCLUSION , which in this case, is the lead-in to your actual presentation of the Speaker.

Your introduction should tell the audience about the expertise of the Speaker and give relevant background information. You should set the mood of the audience for this particular speech, an especially challenging task if there is a marked change from the mood of the preceding talk.

While covering these points, be careful not to give any of the Speakers speech. Allusions to the topic will arouse interest without talking away from the Speakers impact.

Build expectation and end your introduction when interest peaks. Weave the Speakers name into the introduction as much as possible (unless it is a surprise name the audience will recognize), so that the audience will clearly relate this Speaker with this topic.

Above all, don’t overdo it. Say what needs to be said, look at him or her approaching the platform, step back and lead the applause, welcome the Speaker, wait for acknowledgment from the Speaker, then sit down.

Obviously an introduction requires almost as much preparation as a full speech. You will need to contact the Speaker in advance and discuss the relevant information about the speech and Speaker. You should then make an outline of your introduction and rehearse it. Good preparation will clearly show, and both the audience and Speaker will appreciate your preparation.

At the conclusion of the presentation, stand and lead the applause. Return to the lectern, shake the Speakers hand and continue leading the applause as (s)he leaves the lectern. Mention a few words of thanks on behalf of the audience and compliment the talk.