How to Introduce Someone to an Audience

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A proper introduction gets the audience excited to hear from the guest speaker.
A proper introduction gets the audience excited to hear from the guest speaker. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Introducing a guest speaker to an audience requires a succinct mini-speech that not only prepares the audience for what they're about to hear but also builds excitement for the person who will present the main address. A confident, positive introduction will put the audience at ease and provide the speaker with solid footing on which to begin. Use your time at the microphone to deliver a good first-impression of the speaker, and leave behind any desires to share your own opinions on the topic or to talk about yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Note card
  • Pen
  • Watch or clock

Preparation

Research the person who you'll be introducing to the audience. Locate the speaker's website, if applicable, as well as any social media sites that are associated with the speaker, such as a Facebook page or a LinkedIn page. Write down on a piece of paper any noteworthy achievements that stand out. You can discuss whatever information you find online with the speaker at a later time.

Talk to the guest speaker at least one day before the event. Verify the information that you gathered from the Internet, and adjust your notes accordingly. Find out what topics the speaker will discuss so you can highlight the speaker's expertise in those areas. For example, if the speaker will cover issues related to diet and weight-management, make sure to tell the audience about any medical credentials and work-related experience the speaker has in the areas of nutrition and exercise.

Ask the speaker what information, if any, she would like you to mention in the introduction. Find out if the speaker has any local ties to the area or has done charitable work in the community because these sorts of details can help the audience feel closer to the speaker. Learn the proper pronunciation of the speaker's full name, especially if you find the name to be tricky. For example, write "Jay-Me Star" on a note card if you worry that you'll get tricked up by the actual spelling of the speaker's name: "Jaimeigh Sterre."

Practice

Craft a 60- to 90-second introduction prior to the speaking event. Ensure that your introduction answers three questions: What is the topic the speaker will discuss, why is this topic important to the audience, and what makes the speaker a credible authority on this topic?

Jot down a few key words on the note card where you phonetically spelled out the speaker's name. Include words or phrases that pertain to the three questions your introduction must answer. Avoid writing sentences so that you're not tempted to read from the note card.

Time your introduction by noticing on a clock or watch when you start and when you stop. Practice speaking in front of a mirror. Make eye contact with your reflection and adjust your tone and speaking style so you sound personable and excited about the speaker.

Execution

Signal for the audience to quiet down or to take their seats. Adjust the microphone and set down your note card. Make eye contact around the room and smile. State your name and title clearly.

Begin your introduction for the speaker by looking at the audience and stating the speaker's name and title loudly and clearly. Remember to stand confidentially, to speak slowly, to make eye contact and to sound upbeat.

Conclude by stating the speaker's name one last time and encouraging the audience to applaud. For example, you can say, "Please join me in giving a warm welcome to our guest speaker, Jaimeigh Sterre." Begin to clap as you turn and smile at the speaker. Wait at the podium until the speaker arrives. Give a firm handshake and take your seat.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the speaker provides you with a prepared introduction, edit it for length and clarity if necessary. Go over your changes with the speaker prior to the event so that the speaker isn't caught off guard during the actual introduction.
  • Consider printing a flier that lists the credentials and accomplishments of the speaker if there are too many to include in your introduction. Avoid reading the flier verbatim as your introduction; treat it as a mini-biography of the speaker. While certain information in your introduction will be included on the flier, use your introduction as a way to engage and excite the audience.
  • Avoid highlighting any of your own achievements or sharing your thoughts on the subject.
  • Abstain from telling jokes, which could fall flat and make the audience and speaker uncomfortable.

References

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