Randall Munson
How to Deliver a Great Introduction

  1. Quiet down the group
    You want get the attention of everyone in the room and focus them on the presentation they are about to hear. If you start the introduction before you have the full attention of the group, they will not hear some of the introduction and that will detract from the presentation. It is much easier to gain everyone’s attention before you start than to try to get their attention while you are in the middle of what you are saying. You can do this by saying “Please take your seats now so that we may begin our featured presentation.” Stand and look directly at the audience and wait for them to settle down. Another way is to just begin making some announcements; people tend to get quiet when they are trying to hear what you are saying. If these subtle techniques don’t work, you can usually get everyone quiet by saying, “Everyone please say shhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Others will join you in saying it. When it is quiet, wait for a moment, say “thank you,” and begin.

  2. Make housekeeping announcements
    If necessary, tell everyone where the restrooms and emergency exits are, where to pick up the shuttle bus, where the coffee will be served, and so on. Make these first – not in the middle of, or after, the introduction.

  3. Say thank you
    Thank those who have helped organize, promote, or administer the event.

  4. Make personal comments
    If you have some first hand knowledge about the speaker that the audience would appreciate, this is the time for you to tell them, before reading the introduction. If you have heard the speaker before, you may be able to say something like, “I first heard this speaker in _______ and I can tell you that you’re in for a real treat.” This makes the introduction more personal and interesting.

  5. Introduce the speaker
    This is the final step. Read the introduction as written.  A speaker carefully hones the precise wording of their introduction. It is crafted to convey who the speaker is, why your audience should listen to the speaker and how the presentation will benefit them.  Although you may want to appear spontaneous, don’t try to ad lib or paraphrase. Using words, other than those written, will throw off the timing and detract from the quality of the introduction. Never make comments like “they told me I had to read this” or “this is what he wrote about himself.” While those comments may generate a little uncomfortable snickering, they undermine the speaker and reduce the value you will get from your speaker. Read the introduction proudly and with enthusiasm. Nothing else should be said after introducing the speaker . . . 
    simply applaud!

See  “Tips for an Effective Introduction.” This will help you understand why your introduction is critical to the success of the program.

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