In formal gatherings or larger meetings it's often
necessary — and helpful — to introduce the main speaker.
With the right preparation, you can make the event more
successful and establish your own professionalism.
An introduction serves two purposes:
- It acts as a bridge, a transition from one part of a
meeting to another. It gives the audience time to make
a mental and emotional shift.
- It prepares people for the speaker, heightening
their sense of openness and anticipation.
Your task is to introduce the speaker, not to take
center stage. The spotlight is on you only for a moment so
that you can shine it where it belongs: on the speaker.
Keep it brief. For informal gatherings 30 seconds is
plenty. For larger events, aim for no longer than a
minute. Under certain conditions — a very formal event
with a very important speaker — you may need to speak for
up to two minutes.
2. Prepare a 3-part outline.
Talk to the speaker in advance of the event. Find out what he or she is
talking about and why it has relevance to the audience.
Then learn as much as you can about the speaker's
experience, education, life, interests, and
accomplishments — whatever helps establish the
speaker's credibility on the topic he or she is
Many speakers will send you a resume or their own
written introduction. Use it to help you prepare your
remarks, but do not read it verbatim. (It is usually too
long and self-aggrandizing.)
Make sure you know how to pronounce the speaker's name.
A good introduction tells people why this speaker is
talking about this subject at this event.
The first part of your introduction states a common
problem or concern the audience shares.
The second part briefly (in a sentence or two) states
how today's speech will help them solve that problem or
address that concern.
And the final part of your introduction establishes
the speaker's credentials — convinces the audience that
the speaker knows what he or she is talking about.
Walk to the podium with confidence. Arrange your
notes and adjust the microphone. Take a breath. Look at
the audience and smile.
Speak your introduction. Conclude with the speaker's
name, which is her or his cue to come forward.
Wait at the podium until the speaker arrives. Shake
his or her hand and step back from the podium, handing
it over symbolically to the speaker.
See also How to
Give a Speech.
Chris Witt, a coach based in San Diego, works with
executives and with technical experts who want to give
more effective presentations. If you're interested
in learning more about how you could benefit from his
coaching, contact him for a complimentary