It’s often said that your presentation starts the moment the audience sees you walking to the stage. The truth is, your audience begins to form an impression of you even earlier.
If you’re a guest speaker at an event, you’ll most likely have someone introducing you to the stage.
Don’t leave your introduction to chance
Have you ever been let down by the person introducing you? Maybe you planned to say something in your opening, only to hear the emcee say it moments before calling you on stage. Maybe your name was mispronounced or your credentials were forgotten. Maybe the person introducing you was a nervous wreck or lacked the energy and enthusiasm to set the tone you were hoping for.
If you have someone introducing you, help them help you.
Contact the emcee in advance and work with him/her to ensure that you’re introduced the way you want to be. It’s win-win: you make the host’s job easier and the host makes you look good.
So what should you ask the host say about you?
What makes a good speaker intro?
Keep it short and sweet. Give them your 3 R’s:
What responsibilities (relevant to your presentation) do you currently hold? The fact that you are trusted to do something well goes a long way in earning the trust of your audience. Authors of Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath, refer to this as the “Sinatra Test”. Frank Sinatra famously sang, “if you can make it there (New York), you can make it anywhere”. Likewise, if you can gain the trust of a senior figure in your company or a notable client or organisation, that’s usually good enough for your audience too.
Do you have a good track record in your field? Share some of your best and most recent accomplishments pertaining to your presentation. If you’ve achieved the kind of success your audience is seeking, they’ll be keen to learn from you.
Finally, share something that will make the audience interested in you. What’s special about you? What makes you a rarity? It could be a prestigious award or qualification, a special achievement, an unusual hobby, a fascinating experience or an endorsement from an important figure or institution.
Here’s an example of a 3-R-introduction:
“It’s my pleasure to introduce our VP of Marketing [Responsibility]. He led our latest campaign which was a record success, [Record] increasing our market share by 23%! And last month, he attended a TED conference where he met Seth Godin [Rarity]! Today, he’s going to share his recent insights and introduce our next marketing campaign. Please welcome: Tom Edwards.”
When your speaker bio includes the 3 R’s, you’ll come across as both credible and likeable. Who wouldn’t want that?
Take the time to write your introduction and you can tailor it for every audience and every occasion.