Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When You Are the Speaker Who Will Be Introduced

You rise from your seat and head towards the lectern to deliver your presentation. Meanwhile, your host introduces you. You want these initial remarks to support your presentation’s main messages, not undermine them. So it’s imperative to ensure you are properly introduced. Here are 7 suggestions on how to make sure your session starts off well.

Write your own introduction. Draw on tips I presented here previously. Triple space copy and use at least 16-point font size to make it easy to read at a glance. 

Practice reading your introduction aloud. Make sure your text sounds pleasing to the ear. Aim for shorter sentences and words that are known to the audience. In general, revise any copy that sounds awkward or might be difficult to deliver. 

Pay special attention to the pronunciation of words, especially peoples’ names.  It's wise to write out how a name or other word would sound phonetically. Many words and names are difficult to pronounce. For example, I would write my last name as FREED MUN. On occasion it’s been mispronounced as Fried (as in French Fried) Man. 

Identify the person introducing you. Connect before the event to let him or her know you’ll provide a written introduction. Provide it at least a few days before the event. Just to be safe, bring an extra hard copy of your introduction with you. 

Encourage your introducer to read the introduction aloud several times before the event. You want him or her to become comfortable with the copy. Nothing is worse than someone looking down and mechanically reading from a written text. Ideally, your introducer will sound natural and engage the audience with some eye contact.

Insist that your copy is presented exactly as you have written it.  You have spent a considerable amount of time preparing for your talk. You have the right to expect skillful delivery of what you have prepared. Your written introduction should not be an opportunity for the introducer to editorialize or ad lib.

Thank your introducer after the event.  Some speakers offer the person a small gift, like a book. At the very least, send a thank you note.

In short, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are introduced as you wish. Make the time to do so in advance of your event. You’ll be glad you did. 


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