THE INTRO to your speech
Be smart and write your introduction because your speech or presentation starts when the person introducing you reads what you have written.
So do you list your accomplishments and abilities and wonderfulness? Why not? Everyone does! My one hue and cry will continue. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
What can your audience expect to receive from you? What is the gift you are giving that will make a difference to them – in their lives, in their work? Focus on that in your introduction and make sure the person who is doing your introduction gets your written speech ahead of time.
I did this recently. I handed my introduction to a women who was going to introduce me and she read exactly what I wrote; in monotone, without pausing, hurriedly. It made no sense.
I was distraught. What to do next? Teaching people how to speak is what I do. But I couldn’t prevent her from butchering a simple introduction. Her head was somewhere else. She didn’t care. She made a bad impression. And she didn’t help me either.
I’ve decided to put in pauses (directions) and then ask them to read it over before we go on to make sure they understand my introduction.
Presumptuous? Maybe. But how else do I take care of my audience? How do I make sure they get the most from me in exchange for their valuable time?
Another time a friend of mine was to introduce a speaker. My friend herself is an amazing speaker but she decided to really help this person and sing the introduction. The speaker was steaming afterward and said that she wanted to be introduced the way it was written without any creative additions.
How good are you at introducing people? Some I find are greatly lacking in this skill. They end up looking sloppy, disinterested, unprofessional. Don’t make that mistake when you introduce a speaker.
And when you write an introduction for yourself – what does it say about your desire to be of service to the audience?
Here is the introduction I wrote for the Public Relations Society of America Conference regarding Acting Skills and Public Speaking:
I’M ASSUMING YOU’RE HERE TODAY BECAUSE THE SUBJECT MATTER “GREAT SPEAKERS USE ACTING SKILLS” INTRIGUES YOU. YOU MAY EVEN BELIEVE YOU WILL FIND NEW WAYS TO BECOME A BETTER SPEAKER. YOU’RE RIGHT. TODAY YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT NEW TOOLS FOR OUTSTANDING COMMUNICATION.
BARBARA KITE, WITH OVER THREE DECADES OF COACHING, SPEAKING AND ACTING EXPERIENCE, IS HERE TODAY TO SHARE THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF MEMORABLE SPEAKERS — ACTING SKILLS. LET’S LEARN ABOUT HOW GREAT ACTORS CONNECT TO AUDIENCES.
PLEASE GIVE A WARM WELCOME TO BARBARA KITE, THE ACTING COACH FOR SPEAKERS.
Short, to the point and addressing the needs of the audience.
What does your introduction say about you?