Enhance Your Speech With A Great Introduction

by Stephen Boyd | March 31, 2004

As a speaker, you may get nervous about being at the mercy of your introducer. If the person tries to tell a joke, has trouble reading the introduction, or leaves out key parts which you plan to respond to in your opening, you can have a tough time in the beginning of your speech.

Proper planning of your introduction can eliminate unnecessary anxiety. You can have confidence that you will start your speech with a high level of enthusiasm and anticipation because of the effective job the introducer did.

Write out your introduction and include the punctuation you want. When you want a pause, write [PAUSE]. Double space and type in bold font so that the person will not have trouble reading the script. Send her or him a copy a few days before you are to speak. Meet the introducer before the meeting starts and get acquainted. Say your name distinctly to clarify the correct pronunciation. Ask if he or she received the introduction and if there are any questions. Then say, "I would really like it if you would read it as I have written it because the early part of my speech plays off what you say in the introduction." Of course that is only if there is a specific connection to the introduction.

Keep your introduction short. One to two minutes is the length you want. How well the audience knows you should determine how long the introduction is. The principle I use is only to put in your introduction what will qualify you as an expert in the minds of the audience. An audience does not care where you graduated from high school or where you grew up unless it is integral to your speech.

One last tip is to look pleasant and eager to speak as you are being introduced. Audience members will be looking at you and forming judgments as the introduction is being given. Don’t be writing a last reminder on your notes at this time.

You can never predict what the introducer will say or do, but these suggestions can help ease anxiety by lowering the risk of the unexpected as you go to the lectern to speak.

About the Author

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. He presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. See additional articles and resources at http://www.sboyd.com. To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or email him through his website.

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