Presentation Magazine

How to Introduce a Speaker


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I have sat in the audience and stood on the stage when the person introducing a guest speaker spoke longer than the speaker. It’s brutal.

The audience came to hear the speaker, not the introduction, a long, rambling discourse filled with detours of mispronunciations, stumbles, and awkward pauses.

It doesn’t have to be so hard.

A few years ago, I spoke to a group and the individual who introduced me not only used my name a dozen times in the introduction but he also pronounced my name differently and incorrectly every time. I had to spend the first few minutes of my talk trying to smooth over the awkwardness created by someone who didn’t even bother asking me how to pronounce my name. Brutal.

Here are seven simple steps to guide you when you have to introduce a speaker, whether you do it at a business meeting, a convention, a book club, for an audience of a few people or a stadium filled with thousands of people.

  1. Keep it short.
  2. Make it personal. Tell the audience why you’re doing the introduction. For example: “I met tonight’s speaker at a convention two years ago while we both waited in a buffet line that never seemed to move an inch.”
  3. Tell the audience a few, brief highlights of the speaker’s career, not every award he has won over the past twenty years and every company he has consulted with. Highlights, just a few.
  4. Share with the audience how the speaker‘s knowledge will benefit them. For example: “As a master communicator, he will help all of us deliver more effective presentations that increase our ability to close deals.”
  5. Practice. If the speaker has a tricky name, make sure you know how to pronounce it. Become comfortable with your comments. You don’t have to memorize them, but don’t stumble into an awkward pause because you can’t read your own handwriting or because you come across a word you’ve never seen before.
  6. Use large font type for any notes and names you have to read. That makes it far easier to look up from your notes, make eye contact with the audience, and then look back down at your notes without losing your place.
  7. Finally, begin with the spirit you set out with at the beginning: Keep it short.

The Gettysburg address runs to 272 words. It took Abraham Lincoln about two minutes to deliver it. Use it as a guide. If you can’t introduce a speaker in less time than Lincoln delivered history, then you need to cut down your introduction.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Gerry Sandusky – View the original post .

 

About the author

gerrysandusky

Guest Blog by

Gerry Sandusky, is the New York Times best-selling author of Forgotten Sundays, the play-by-play voice for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, the sports director for Baltimore's WBAL TV, and a noted authority on communication, motivation, perception, and change.

Gerry has won Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards for outstanding broadcasts.

The son of former NFL coach, John Sandusky, Gerry has found his own niche in coaching as president of The Sandusky Group, a communications-consulting firm.
The Sandusky Group helps professionals who are experts in their field look, feel, and perform better in front of every audience, and influence that audience. The Sandusky Group shows experts how to shine.

Gerry and his wife founded the Joe Sandusky Fund, to honor Gerry's late brother. The fund grants college scholarships to students who demonstrate passion, talent, initiative, and a drive to fulfil their dreams.

http://sanduskygroup.com/ Read other posts by


Published On: 25th Jan 2016

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