You’ve booked your speaker, prepped them on the talk’s requirements and set up their equipment, all that’s left to do is introduce them to the audience. Not to be underestimated, a good introduction is essential to set your guest’s expectations and provide an effortless segue into the talk itself.
Whether you’ve hired a speaker for an after-dinner talk or keynote presentation, the principle of an introduction is the same.
Perfect your introduction with our top tips below:
A successful introduction is near impossible if you don’t know the speaker you’re introducing. Before the event, ensure you familiarise yourself with the guest you have booked, the topics they will discuss and how they relate to your audience.
Establishing a clear connection between the theme of the occasion and the speaker booked is the difference between a disengaged audience or an impactful introduction. To effectively communicate the connection, ensure you have a comprehensive understanding, before the event.
Keep it Short & Simple
Nothing turns a crowd's attention away from proceedings like a drawn-out and over-complicated introduction. Don’t speak for any longer than five minutes or cover any more content than is required.
As the person tasked with introducing the main speaker, it is important to balance giving your guests context and insight, whilst not taking away from the talk prepared by your speaker.
Picking three key points to convey in the introduction is the best way to build a buzz whilst not taking the spotlight away from the speaker booked. Aim for no more than five minutes, as beyond that time frame your audience is likely to tune out.
Often when left unprepared, people will rely on clichés to carry their introduction. Although this may seem like a fail-safe option, it adds very little to the actual introduction and lacks personalisation.
Some of the common clichés to avoid are:
"A speaker that needs no introduction..."
"Without further ado..."
"Put your hands together for..."
One of the most key aspects of an introduction is it needs to be specific to the speaker, when you add cliché phrases it makes it generic and irrelevant to the event. Instead, try sharing a brief anecdote related to the speaker, or an authentic opinion on why you’ve booked them, this will add originality and intrigue.
Share Their Qualifications
Evidencing that the speaker you’ve hired is the best in their field is important, however, audiences don’t need to hear an entire CVs worth of qualifications. As you’ve booked them for the occasion, you obviously believe the speaker is the right expert on your chosen subject, and this trust in their proficiency should be conveyed to the audience.
Help to establish credibility in the speaker by reassuring guests of one or two of their qualifications, be it a prestigious degree or industry-related accolade. Audiences gain the greatest benefit from a speaker if they have faith in the content, they are delivering.
Welcome Them to the Stage
The last thing on the agenda for any introduction is welcoming the guest to the stage. Giving a speaker a cue to step into the spotlight is the perfect way to round off an introduction and prepare your speaker’s entrance.
A simple change in body language is the perfect way to shift an audience’s attention from you, the introducer, to the guest speaker. Gesturing with an open palm and outreached arm in the direction of the entrance signals to the audience where to move their focus, and the speaker that it’s time to enter the stage.
Another non-verbal communication method that is effective in welcoming a speaker to the stage is the movement of eye contact. When you are delivering your introduction, you will be making eye contact with the audience, however, once you adjust your eye contact in the direction of the entering speaker it gives a visual cue for audiences to follow.
The most obvious way to welcome a speaker to the stage is through a verbal introduction. When saying their name you must:
Pronounce their name correctly
Use their preferred pronouns
Use their preferred title, if applicable
If you are unsure of any of the above criteria, check with the speaker beforehand as they will likely feel uncomfortable if introduced incorrectly, the opposite of what you’re aiming to achieve in a successful introduction.
Sometimes an example of the experts in action is just the inspiration required to ensure your introduction will hit the mark.
Here, Gail Emms expertly demonstrates how to introduce a guest as the evening’s host.
For a corporate occasion introduction, read our example below, using Ollie Ollerton as the guest speaker.
“A man with military-grade mental strength, our speaker today, is a former UK Special Forces agent, the founder of Break Point and author of two Sunday Times Bestselling books. Backed by his skills honed on missions like Operation Desert Storm, this SAS member is equipped to transfer the same motivational comradery experienced in the forces to build our business into a well-oiled machine. Here to get our team Battle Ready today, is Directing Staff of SAS: Who Dares Wins, Ollie Ollerton.”
Book a Speaker
Do you wish to book an engaging speaker for your event? At Champions Speakers we have a vast collection of experts suitable for every occasion. We offer the best in the business ranging from entertaining after dinner speakers to thought-provoking keynote speakers, which we can support you in organising for your next occasion.
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