Don’t Risk a Bad Start: Bring Your Speaker Introduction

  • SumoMe

Introduction

Your speaker introduction is an important part of your presentation.  It should get  the audience leaning forward with anticipation of the topic and also set up your credibility (here’s a post on how to write your speaker introduction).  Unless you have a video of your introduction played just prior to your presentation (which can be very effective, if the technology works), you don’t have complete control over your introduction.  The number one challenge I’ve seen with introductions is that the introducer doesn’t have one!

Sometimes the speaker has neglected to email the introduction ahead of time, but often the introducer has simply forgotten to bring it or has misplaced it.  I’d say this happens about 50%  of the time.

It doesn’t upset or surprise me.  Usually, the introducer has a lot to remember and that little detail escapes them.  It’s my job, as a speaker, to make them look good, so I always bring a couple of copies of my introduction to have on hand.  I check in with the person introducing me and ask if they have a copy, and if not, I hand them a copy (the other copy I keep, just in case the introducer misplaces the copy I give them).

If time allows, I ask them to read it out loud.  “Why don’t you read it out loud right now so that you are comfortable with it?  I know my last name can be a little tricky.” (I have the phonetic spelling of my name in parentheses in the introduction).  I’m amazed at how badly some people read introductions, if they haven’t run through them once.

Of course, I try to keep the introductions short, simple and on one page.  I use a 16 point font and lots of white space.  I also include ellipses and a smiley face where I have a bit of a humorous punch line.

Example: intro snippet

Another method that I’ve just started using is to have my introductions on my phone (actually in my camera roll in an album called “introductions”),  If I misplace my extra copy, I can text it to the introducer, or just hand them my phone. I haven’t had a chance to try this method out yet, but it seemed a reasonable plan C.

Add “Bring Speaker Introduction” to your engagement checklist.  You have a checklist, right?