Recently I gave a talk at an organizational function. This workshop was in the works (preparation) for a couple of months and I was looking forward to it.
They chose the topic. One of our “best practices” is to email both one week and one day in advance a prepared introduction of myself. It’s structured, short and easy for even the most inexperienced introducer. It saves time for the person doing the introduction as s/he doesn’t have to write one or spend time practicing it; all one has to do is read it.
You might guess what happened. First, she didn’t bring a copy of our introduction to the meeting and didn’t tell us as we had one (another “best practice” is to bring a hard copy of the introduction with us to cover for this exact scenario), second, she remained seated instead of standing in front of the group, and third, she introduced me as “Rob” mentioned that I graduated from a local high school, and said, “I guess he’s here to talk about something, public speaking, right?”
This was one of the worst introduction I have ever received (surprisingly, many are bad, that’s another reason I write them).
Not only was the audience unprepared for me, in their eyes, I was unqualified and therefore, not especially a person of interest. Since similar things happened in the past, I was prepared and delivered my own introduction so that they at least knew why I was there, my credentials, and the topic.
Not only is it absolutely critical to know the pronunciation of the speaker’s first and family name, it is best to get the name right! People’s names are very important and if you can pronounce their names properly and accurately, you will gain the respect of the audience and the speaker. How many times have you heard the person introducing a speaker by saying, “I am not sure of the pronunciation of his/her name, but here she/he is.” How about seeing the one introducing the speaker look over to the speaker and asking how to pronounce his/her name? It is an awkward scenario for the presenter when he/she is introduced incorrectly.
Does the importance of a good introduction make sense? A proper introduction sets the tone for the whole presentation; the audience knows who you are, what your qualifications are, and why you are there. It’s a perfect set up for both the audience and the presenter and helps the speaker with getting the attention of the audience. It also shows you and your organization’s commitment to professional excellence.
Remember, it’s a shared responsibility. Introducers, please call the speaker as far in advance of the presentation as is possible so you can get all the information you need to give a nice respectful introduction.
Speakers, please do not make it difficult for the introducer. Give the person introducing you the information necessary to write an introduction, or provide one for them, so he/she can practice.
The main point is “practice” your introduction as much as you would for any speech. Practice on introductions, giving awards, or receiving awards is every bit as important as a keynote address. It is not a hard task to master; but it does take know how, preparation, and above all, practice.
With just a few steps, you can avoid the awkward and uncomfortable “introduction” that I received. Respect your speaker, make yourself look professional and prepared, and set the stage for an interesting and memorable presentation.
Don’t be that person. For a step by step guide on how to introduce a speaker, go to our website and order today, a speaker of any skill level will look like a professional.