Crafting Meaningful and Compelling Speech Introductions

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Public Speakers should create an introduction that creates excitement and builds up anticipation in the audience

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  • As you can see, there are lots of good reasons why you should introduce speakers. It’s all about communication. Why is this person speaking to the audience? Why this person, and not someone else? What are they going to talk about?

    If there are any specifics about the speech that the audience needs to know about ahead of time, the introduction can lay all that out. A few weeks ago I gave a speech from the Advanced Communication manual called Facilitating Discussions. I had to lead a brainstorming session, so my introduction laid out some ground rules. People were expected to participate. We needed to come up with 3 ideas by the end of the speech. I would lead the discussion, but not contribute. Etc, etc. this is also the time to tell people there will be time for questions at the end, or that the powerpoint will be available for download or whatever needs to be communicated that is not an actual part of the speech.
  • The Speaker
    The emcee (Toastmaster)

    As a speaker, you are the best qualified to write your introduction. You know your speech, your qualifications, the speech’s purpose, the audience and what needs to be communicated. You can decide if there should be a teaser, or if it should be funny, or formal, or strictly professional. I highly recommend that you always write your own introduction.

    As an emcee, if your speaker doesn’t provide you with a written introduction, you should write one. If the speaker doesn’t provide you with information, you should do your best with what you know about the speaker, the topic they have agreed to speak on, and how it relates to the audience. Do a little research on the speaker, the topic, the purpose of the meeting, then use the following guidelines to craft the introduction.
  • Most recommendations for introductions cover the basic 3 components – the topic of the speech, its relevance to the audience and the background or the biography of the speaker.

    For longer speeches in a more formal setting, the introduction should be longer as well. If you’re introducing an author, you’ll want to include published titles, credentials like journalist for the New York Times, and honors like recipient of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for children’s literature. For shorter speeches, the intro should be shorter, but still informative and encompass the TIS elements.
  • You’ll notice that the intro I gave Jess was based on the Allan and Allan method. I did include my name in the beginning, because in a published agenda, there’s no element of surprise. If you want to surprise the audience or build up the anticipation, you can leave the name until the end.

    Because this is a Toastmasters speech, I included my Toastmasters credentials. I could very easily have crafted this introduction around my job here at the college or outside credentials, as they applied to the audience.

    When you write the importance of the speech, make sure to tell the audience WHY they should listen. What’s in it for them. The relevance of the subject should compel them to listen.

    Lastly the topic should give specific information about the speech. For Toastmasters, this is easy; at a minimum give the Project number, the manual and the title.
  • Crafting Meaningful and Compelling Speech Introductions

    1. 1. www.toastmasters.org Let Me Introduce Myself Why a good introduction is important to the audience and the speaker
    2. 2. www.toastmasters.org Let Me Introduce Myself
    3. 3. www.toastmasters.org Let Me Introduce Myself Have you ever attended a presentation and wondered who the speaker was? • Both literally and figuratively – either the person was not introduced & did not introduce themself, or you knew their name but not what qualified them to speak on the subject. • As an audience member these situations can be very confusing.
    4. 4. www.toastmasters.org Why Introduce Speakers? • Establish the speaker’s expertise in the area. • Tell the audience why they should listen. • Set the tone for the speech – humorous, formal, Q&A. For Toastmasters: • Give information like the project #, speech title, time goals.
    5. 5. www.toastmasters.org Who Creates the Introduction? • The Speaker • The emcee (Toastmaster) • As a speaker, you are the best qualified to write your introduction. You know your speech, your qualifications, the speech’s purpose, the audience and what needs to be communicated. You can decide if there should be a teaser, or if it should be funny, or formal, or strictly professional. Speakers should always write their own introduction. • As an emcee, if your speaker doesn’t provide you with a written introduction, you should write one. If the speaker doesn’t provide you with information, you should do your best with what you know about the speaker, the topic they have agreed to speak on, and how it relates to the audience. Do a little research on the speaker, the topic, the purpose of the meeting, then use the following guidelines to craft the introduction.
    6. 6. www.toastmasters.org What Goes Into an Introduction? • The T-I-S method – Topic, Importance, Speaker • The Allan & Allan Way – Speaker Description & Qualifications – Topic – Title – Name of Speaker
    7. 7. www.toastmasters.org What Goes Into an Introduction? • Most recommendations for introductions cover the basic 3 components – the topic of the speech, its relevance to the audience and the background or the biography of the speaker. • For longer speeches in a more formal setting, the introduction should be longer as well. If you’re introducing an author, you’ll want to include published titles, credentials like journalist for the New York Times, and honors like recipient of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for children’s literature. For shorter speeches, the intro should be shorter, but still informative and encompass the TIS elements.
    8. 8. www.toastmasters.org A Sample Intro Our first speaker is Mary Smith. Mary has been a member of Toastmasters since September 2011. As a member of Toastmasters, she has served as Secretary for the past year and was recently re- elected to the role for another term. She earned her Competent Communicator certification in 2012 and will earn her Competent Leader certification this year. Her most recent Toastmaster activities have been concentrated on starting a new club here at Acme Supplies. She is currently serving as President of Acme Toastmasters. Over the past 2 years, Mary has learned the importance of a good introduction. Today she is here to tell us why she feels writing introductions are critical for our own toastmaster experience, and to share some tips on crafting compelling and informative introductions. Mary’s speech is Project 2 Organize Your Speech from the Competent Communicator manual. The title of her speech is “Let Me Introduce Myself”. (Ask the evaluator to read the Executive Summary & Objectives for the project.) Please welcome Mary Smith. S is for Speaker I is for Importance T is for Topic
    9. 9. www.toastmasters.org Introduction Tips Tips: • Don’t make the introduction too long, or you’ll lose the interest of the audience. 1-2 minutes is more than enough for a Toastmasters introduction. • Don’t be afraid to brag. Making yourself the “expert” will make people want to listen to you. • For the emcee – read through the introduction if it is provided to you. Ask in advance to make sure you know how to pronounce names, places and any unknown words. • Smile & be enthusiastic. Build up the speaker and the audience. • Also as emcee, make sure to introduce yourself. It doesn’t have to be as formal or written out as the speaker’s introduction, but don’t take for granted that the audience knows who you are. At the very least you should give your name, title, role in the meeting, department – whatever is meaningful to the audience.
    10. 10. www.toastmasters.org Wrap It Up When writing your introduction, remember 3 things: • Why are you giving the introduction? To communicate, generate interest and set the tone for the speech. • Who writes the introduction? As the speaker, it’s in your best interest to write it. As the emcee, it’s in your best interest to have something to introduce the speaker. • What goes into the introduction? Remember TIS & you’ll have the 3 essential elements for any good introduction. Topic, Importance, Speaker.

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