*Reposted with permission from The Vollmer Voice
by Tony Shelton, Shelton & Caudle Communication Training & Crisis Counsel, a division of Vollmer Public Relations
Too many introductions run too long.
They recount faithfully the speaker’s degrees, job history and seemingly every award she has won since second grade. Rather than get the audience’s attention and convince them that something good is coming their way, such introductions cause the audience to tune out. That can give even the best speaker a handicap from the start.
An effective intro, on the other hand, gets our attention and whets our appetite for the speaker’s words. The best intro:
- Is less than two minutes long
- Gives just enough examples of credentials (2-3, no more) so audience members can decide the speaker probably knows what she or he is talking about
- Connects the speaker to the “introducer,” to the occasion, the location and the audience members and organization in some meaningful way
- Includes a lighthearted reference to the speaker’s humanity and passion for the subject matter.
- Say the person’s name, initiate the applause and sit down.
Dayna Steele, a motivational business speaker (and occasional media trainer for Shelton & Caudle), has a good example of an intro she provides to meeting planners:
Our speaker is the author of Rock to The Top: What I Learned About Success From The World’s Greatest Rock Stars. She reigned for years as Houston’s First Lady of Radio, creating an army of fans known as Steeleworkers and her radio broadcasts have taken her to concerts and interviews with countless bands and rock stars around the world. She is also the creator of Smart Girls Rock and was named one of the “35 People Who Inspire Us” by Reader’s Digest. Ladies and gentleman, please welcome Dayna Steele.
At that point, all the introducer should do is sit down and enjoy the show!