I sincerely hope this hasn’t happened to you. By the time you have gathered your thoughts at the lectern, the audience silently taunting you … ‘ok funny person, make me laugh!’

A more common and equally uninspiring introduction is when conference organisers somehow get hold of your CV. Now as you sit waiting for your turn to speak, the MC starts to read your CV … WORD FOR WORD!

… aaaaghhh!

By the time walk on to the stage, the audience have just heard your life history. Is it any wonder they now expect you to be wearing your underpants on the outside of your trousers, a bright red cape and a big S on the front of your shirt! Put yourself in the shoes of the audience, what would you really want to hear about the speaker?

 

Write your own introduction …

It’s a bit sneaky, but it takes the risk out of an introduction creating the wrong first impression with your audience. However a word of caution, supplying a well worded introduction ahead of time, may encourage the organisers to use this in their conference programme, along with a picture they have found of you taken 25-years ago!

It’s good to ask if they require two forms of introduction? One for the programme and one for the MC. This way you can make sure that the MC doesn’t simply repeat what’s in the programme …  and the programme message doesn’t dilute the impact of MC’s introduction. Have you got a recent photograph?

A simple formula to strengthen your introduction.

1.  Tell them the value

2.  Tell them why you

3.  Tell them you’re human

4.  Tell them your name

 

Here’s an example …

Tell them the value

Ladies and Gentlemen, over the past few weeks our electricity in Cape Town has failed and industry profits have tumbled as a result. Whilst Government and Energy Officials squabble over who is to blame … it appears that the blackouts have created a positive spin … industry has gone looking for energy saving ideas.

Our next speaker believes that by making the right decisions today, most companies could save up to 30% of their power costs in just 12 months. These savings translate directly into greater profits.

Tell them why you

Having worked in energy projects in Australia, Iceland and most recently in Zimbabwe, our next speaker understands how to conserve precious resources in both harsh climatic and economic conditions. Her advice to industry and the Governments in these countries, has resulted in annual energy savings that would equate to providing food for a 1 million people living below the poverty line, for over 20-years

Tell them you’re human

Whilst she is an expert on energy resources … curiuosly she almost didn’t make this morning’s conference … because her car had a flat battery!

Tell them your name

Ladies and Gentlemen … please welcome Dr Cynthia Manyathi

Add a bit of showbiz …

Holding the speakers name right to the end adds a bit of showbiz magic … creating a big build up. Think about how actors are introduced at the Oscars. But there is another reason. How often have you heard the MC build the introduction to a point where they mention the speaker’s name, but then continue with the introduction? Apart from creating a bit of an anti-climax, this might fool the speaker into thinking this is the cue to begin walking on stage.

The speaker now has to hover in the wings (in full view of the audience), whilst the introduction continues. By only announcing the speakers name right at the end, you create a definite cue for the speaker … which also becomes everyone else’s cue (lighting, sound, music,  etc.)

On a final note

Tell the MC, if they mention that you wrote your own introduction, you will personally make sure they have a slow and painful death!
‘I’d like to introduce you to our next speaker … he’s one of the most organised people I know.‘