How to Introduce a Presenter
How can you profit from introducing a presenter?
You can get at least two things out of doing an introduction:
- Give a prepared mini speech, and
- Learn to direct the audience’s attention
Why do we let you introduce the speakers and evaluators?
We introduce the speakers and evaluators because the evening’s flow is improved, the presentations gain in relevance, the team is knit tigher.
A well-crafted and executed Introduction can strongly enhance a speech’s effect.
- It makes a transition—It defines the speaker’s role and prepares the audience for the new focus in the meeting.
- It sets the tone—It provides background information for the speech topic and the speaker’s treatment thereof.
- It lends authority—It establishes the speaker’s credentials for treating this topic.
How To – Two and 1/2 Pillars of the Introduction
Requirements for the introduction:
Speaker’s name—Give name at the beginning and, formally, at the end. If the speaker’s name is unfamiliar to the audience, this repetition helps the audience be conscious of who is addressing them: it makes the speaker more personal.
Speech title—Mentioned typically at the end, just ahead of the speaker’s name and title.
Speech topic—Establish a context for the speech topic, relating it to the speaker and the audience.
For a speech at a Toastmasters meeting, please note that the following should be said by the evaluator, when you ask her/him for their objectives.
Project—Identify the speech project by manual and project title
Objectives—Give the project objectives along with the speaker’s personal objectives
Questions—If a question-and-answer period is part of the speech project, mention this to the audience and be prepared to act as Q&A moderator on behalf of the speaker.
Focus on the speaker, not on yourself
Everything you do and say in the introduction is for the benefit of the speaker. Your job is to make them look good to the audience.
Make the introduction into a ceremony that settles the audience and prepares them mentally for the speaker.
Be brief. The audience interest should build during your introduction and come to a peak just as you present the speaker. Sometimes all that is needed is to present the speaker by announcing their name.
You will command the audience’s attention, then transfer that attention to the speaker.
Keep the audience’s attention on the stage at all times. Never leave the stage empty and bare.
While performing your introduction, focus on the audience. (Do not glance at the speaker: the audience’s attention will shift prematurely.) Then, as you announce the speaker’s name, you turn your attention to the speaker (and lead the applause), and the audience’s attention follows the speaker as he begins his walk to the stage.
Remain on stage, leading the audience in applause, until the speaker reaches you and you shake hands. Then exit away from the speaker (so you do not cross either in front or behind him). (Having a seat on each side of the stage will help you do this with aplomb.)
Upstaging the speaker: Remember that the speaker is the star: turn the audience’s attention to the speaker, not yourself.
Revealing content: Remember that it is up to the speaker to paint the picture for the audience.
Straying from the script. If the speaker has prepared an introduction script for you, stick to it meticulously; do not ad lib.
Surprising the speaker: do not extemporize embarrassing or extraneous information.
Too much praise: Lavish or gushing comments are counterproductive in warming an audience to a speaker.
Mystery: Unless the speaker is absolutely familiar to the entire audience beforehand, state the speaker’s name at the outset.
Prolixity: Keep the introduction succinct; one minute is the upper limit for a Toastmasters meeting.
Face the audience until you mention the speaker’s name for the final time in your introduction.
Lead the audience in applause, then greet the speaker at the lectern with a handshake.
Leave the lectern without crossing either in front or behind the speaker.
At the end of the speech, lead the applause, shake hands with the speaker again, and resume your place center stage.
Ask for written evalutations and if it was the last speech for a vote for the best speech.
Now that you know how to do it, put the plan into action, or pick another role: