How to make a proper introduction of a speaker

The writer rolls out upskilling programmes on the art of public speaking. 0704420232

Many times those of us who are actively involved in public speaking are introduced to address people here and there. I have discovered that most of us do not know how to introduce speakers to address an audience.

Ideally, a good introduction should lead the audience to the inside facts pertaining the speaker and topic. There should be facts depicting the speaker’s suitability to take the audience through the topic of the day. In other words, the introduction should ‘sell’ the speaker and topic to the audience. When all is said and done, the introduction should serve this mandate in the shortest time possible.

Content of introduction

A well crafted introduction serves the same purpose as a social introduction. It welds the speaker and audience together. It establishes a friendly ambience and grace of great delivery. Even though the introductory talk is always short, hardly ever exceeding one minute, it requires serious preparation. In a broader sense, the one poised to do it must strive to gather enough fascinating facts. The facts must revolve around three things: (a) the subject of the speaker’s talk, (b) qualifications of the speaker to speak on that subject, and (c) name of the speaker. Often, the fourth item is obvious: the importance of the subject chosen by the speaker.

TIS Formula

In a book titled Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking, Dale Carnegie recommends TIS Formula. ‘T’ stands for Topic. Start your introduction by giving the exact title of the speaker’s talk. ‘I’ stands for Importance. In this step, you bridge over the area between the topic and particular interests of the group. ‘S’ stands for Speaker. You should cite the speaker’s outstanding qualifications, particularly the ones that agree with the topic, and the interests of the audience. Mention the name of the speaker in a manner that is distinct and clear. Get it right. It is wrong to say the speaker’s name wrongly.

It is instructive to note that while introducing the speaker, manner is important as matter. Try to be cordial to the audience. Instead of saying how happy you are, just be genuinely pleasant while going lyrical on stage. When you give the introduction with a sense of building to a climax at the end when you announce the speaker’s name, the sense of anticipation will increase. The audience will applaud the speaker more enthusiastically.

Pause, Part and Punch

Moreover, while pronouncing the speakers name at the tail-end of the introductory session, remember the 3 P’s: Pause, Part and Punch. Pause means that marking brief silence just before mentioning the name to add heft to the anticipation. Part means that the first and the last name should be separated by a slight pause so that the audience gets a clear impression of the speaker’s name. By punch, I mean that the name should be puffed with some vigour and force.

Conversely, there is one important caution to consider. When enunciating the speaker’s name, do not turn to him. Instead, look at the audience until you utter the last syllable, then turn to the audience as you handover the microphone. Be sure to be sincere. Do not indulge in deprecatory remarks or snide humour. Just be warmly because you are in a social situation demanding the highest kind of finesse and tact.

Consequently, even if you are not the emcee (master/mistress of ceremonies), you may have to introduce a speaker at a public talk or association meeting. It behooves you to take this responsibility seriously. Why? Because everyone is watching. In most instances, because of the time and attention given to the introduction of the speaker, the introduction itself is actually better than the speech.

John Berco’s introduction of Obama to address the House of Commons in the United Kingdom is a classic case. When you listen aptly, you will ascertain, at the beginning of your introduction, it is wise to use an anecdote to create emotional connection between the speaker and audience. In the body part, briefly touch on the speaker’s biography and qualifications related to the event. This should also raise other fascinating facts about the person. At the conclusion, summarise the speaker’s qualifications and briefly justify why s/he is the one to speak. Request the audience to help you invite the speaker by applauding.


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