The clever fellow who introduced me, saw me speak at an HR conference 6 months earlier. He tied in several ideas from my motivational talk and used personalized information about my family and upbringing. By the time I went up to speak, he made me feel like a rock star. It helped that his introduction was also hilariously funny.
His witty and clever way of introducing me to the audience inspired me to consider what makes up a great speech introduction.
The purpose of introducing a guest speaker is to create a bond with the audience and build credibility for the speaker. Usually, the speaker bio helps with the credibility part. It's up to you to make it personalized.
Steps to the perfect personalized guest speaker introduction:
- Get the facts. Every guest speaker has a bio or standard introduction, find out what it is and how much liberty they will give you to ad lib. Get this in writing so they can't sue you later (kidding).
- Why this guest speaker? Find out why this speaker was asked to present at this conference. Are they an expert in the field? Were they most likely to succeed with this tough crowd? Or the only one willing to try? is it an inspirational speaker, industry expert?
- Personalize. If possible, spend some time on the phone or in person getting to know your guest speaker. Questions that create interest:
What do you do in your spare time? Do you have children? What do you love about where you live? Where was your last speech? If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would they be? What are you most proud of in your life? If we were to marry, could you afford the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed? ( te he he)
What mistakes have you made recently? What is your favorite smell? What are your weaknesses and how do you deal with them? If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? If you could be an animal, what would you be?
Some of these questions are very personal, pick and chose the ones you feel comfortable asking and will give you the most interesting ideas.
- After the interview, suse out the important and interesting information and skip anything too personal or detailed. Be aware that asking these questions can reveal some priceless humor... ( ie- the biggest mistake I have made lately is I forgot to take out the trash) that will add some zip to your introduction.
Once you have the research above, you can weave this into the information already given in the guest speakers bio. Finally, remember your job in introducing a guest speaker is to make them look good, not to draw attention to yourself. Don't try to upstage them or be the star of the show, instead focus on making them look credible and interesting.
With these tips you can craft an introduction that will make your audience crave the wisdom your guest speaker has to give.
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