How to Introduce a Speaker: 8 Steps to a Perfect Introduction
Have you ever noticed the energy in the room after a powerful introduction of the speaker?
Knowing how to introduce a speaker can establish a great starting point for the presenter and boost the audience's enthusiasm for the speaker and the topic.
An introduction that lacks passion and is full of cliche biographical details and exaggerations fails to create momentum.
Hence, a presenter must introduce their speaker in the best way possible. It is your responsibility as the host, MC (master of ceremonies), or presenter to establish the speaker's credibility through a carefully written and skillfully executed introduction.
Fortunately, crafting a well-thought-out introduction isn't difficult.
Furthermore, it gets progressively easier as you flex your presenter skills, and soon, you might be able to roll a smooth introduction off the tip of your tongue. But first, here are some steps to guide you.
8 Essential Steps of Introducing a Speaker
These tips will help you to understand how to give an engaging speaker introduction that will captivate your audience.
1. Make the Introduction Engaging
The speaker is important, but the audience is equally important and is an even higher priority. The audience needs to have a reason to listen to the speaker.
They need to understand why the speaker is the authority and why their words are worth their time. The presenter's introductory approach significantly impacts the audience's decision to look up and pay attention or zone out.
Why should your audience be excited if you, the host, are not excited to introduce your guest speaker?
The MC is primarily responsible for drawing in the audience and piquing their interest in the speaker. Therefore, the use of clichéd sentences is one thing you, as an MC, should entirely avoid doing.
"Good day" and "My guest speaker needs no introduction" are all uninteresting and outdated sentences.
Also, you should actively introduce and personalize the speaker instead of just reading their biography.
Try to bring them closer to the audience and topic. Remember that for most audience members, that speaker is just a name in the event program. Making the speaker more relatable may help pique their interest.
Ideally, the introduction shouldn't be more than three minutes. Try to grab the audience's attention in the first 30 seconds. Even if the presenter is a well-known figure like Elon Musk or Bill Gates, the audience will begin to droop if the MC fails to keep them engaged.
Furthermore, you need to make the introduction of the guest speaker as simple as possible and in easy-to-understand language, even if the presentation is technical. Let the guest speaker handle the technical part.
2. Do Your Research About the Speaker
This is crucial when preparing to introduce a speaker or host an event. If you haven't researched the speaker(s), you'll be left with woefully little to speak on.
You may be stuck repeating the short bio or a few achievements you've gleaned from the program. Not only would this irritate the audience, but it may also affect the speaker's confidence.
If you are an MC and you are going to introduce a guest speaker, you should know why the speaker is speaking, be aware of the event's purpose, the organizers' goals, and the guest speaker's qualifications.
Most significantly, you should know how the audience will benefit from the presentation. When you can respond to most general inquiries about the speaker, you have already completed the first step in creating a good introduction.
Usually, you can find enough information on your speaker online.
However, if you require additional information not offered online, you could contact the speaker and find out what they want to be highlighted. The guest speaker may even give you a prepared introduction.
3. Practice the Introduction
It may seem like introducing a speaker is something you can muddle through if you have a good memory, but that's not enough. There are fine details that require practice and polishing to deliver an excellent introduction.
Here's an example. Some speakers may have unique names that might be difficult to pronounce for those unfamiliar with the pronunciation.
Saying it wrong can be disrespectful at least and offensive at most. Practicing your introduction will allow you to rehearse the pronunciation till you can say it easily.
You owe it to the person you are introducing and your audience to make your brief introduction engaging. Make it seem like a great honor to present this speaker. You'll need to practice consistently to do all this while sounding natural.
4. Maintain Confidence and Positive Body Language
As one of the oldest forms of communication, body language still serves us today. Your body language is half of your introduction.
If your body language while introducing a guest speaker is not confident and engaging enough, you'll come across as nervous and jittery and distract the audience from your words.
Speak informally, as you would to friends. A smile might also be an inviting sign of warmth to the audience.
While you don't necessarily need to tell jokes when presenting a speaker, you must feel at ease on the podium and come across as confident. You should captivate the listener with your tone, language, and speaking style.
A general rule is that the first 30 seconds of a talk or presentation is when an audience's opinion of the speaker is mainly formed. You can start those thirty seconds off right by having a solid introduction and the correct body language.
5. Establish the Speaker's Qualifications
Consider why the audience would want to attend the seminar or presentation. Did the audience come for the guest speaker? Or did they come to the event because of the topic of the presentation?
Most of the time, the topic of the presentation draws the audience to the seminar. However, there are instances where the whole event is focused on one speaker.
In such a case, many audience members may be more interested in the speaker than in the event. You need to ensure you're aware of the audience's goals.
No matter the situation, you need to be able to assure the audience that the speaker has the qualifications to provide input on the topic.
You can do that by expanding on the experience and achievements of the speaker. Also, add details of what the audience can expect to learn or discover to increase their interest.
Let's use an illustration to clarify further. Imagine a symposium on artificial intelligence, and Andrew G, a computer scientist and businessman specializing in machine learning and AI, is the main speaker.
You need to share Andrew's qualifications and experience to assure the audience that he has the knowledge to teach them.
To satisfy your audience, a great way to introduce Andrew G would be to mention his books on AI and his research.
What unique perspective does he have to share, and how does that align with the event's purpose or the organization? You can even share a quote from his writings if you so choose.
All these will help the audience understand that the guest speaker is an authority on the subject. They may also realize that the guest speaker has different and unconventional ideas to share about the topic.
6. Keep It Brief
Your introduction shouldn't include a lengthy rundown of the speaker's successes, honors, and experiences. The audience can find a list of some of these in the program handouts. Additionally, it shouldn't be a presentation synopsis.
Don't pile on flattery. Overly effusive compliments about the speaker can give rise to unreasonable expectations. So keep it simple and realistic.
The host should reveal nothing that might embarrass or distract the audience from the speaker's presentation. Always keep in mind that the guest speaker—not the MC—is what the audience is there to hear.
7. Get to Know the Speaker
If you aren't enthusiastic about introducing the guest speaker, you won't be able to hold the audience's attention.
You may get to know the guest speaker better by introducing yourself and interacting with them before the event. There are differences between learning about someone online and meeting them in person.
Some of the details you learn by interacting with the speaker can make them more personable to you and, therefore, easier to introduce.
Not only that, it will impress the speaker if they're so welcome. The speaker would be confident that the audience and the event planners were genuinely interested in his speech and viewpoint.
You can first find out more about the speaker online to discuss things you may have in common. Also, you can chat about the topic of the presentation with them.
Not only can this help you better introduce the speaker, but you might even make an acquaintance, if not a friend.
8. TIS Formula
A good introduction should excite the audience about listening to the guest speaker. Interestingly, successful introducers apply a formula while introducing the guest speaker. It's called the TIS formula.
What is TIS? Let's have a look!
T: stands for Topic
I: stands for Important
S: stands for Speaker
To apply this formula, you must include these three crucial inquiries in your introduction:
What's the topic?
Why is this topic significant to the audience?
What qualifies the speaker to give this speech?
By considering these three questions and making them a structure of your introduction, you can increase the speaker's credibility and give the audience a reason to listen.
We are confident that if you follow the above guidelines and consistently practice, you won't ever need to inquire how to introduce a presenter again.
Now, let's now address what you should steer clear of when introducing a speaker.
9. POETTS Formula for Toastmasters
If you're introducing someone in a Toastmasters meeting, then use the POETTS formula.
P – Project Title of the speech
O – Objectives of the speech (you may call upon the evaluator to read this out)
E – evaluator: who is the evaluator of this speech
T – Time allocated for the speech
T – Title of the speech to be given
S – Speaker’s introduction
Using this formula helps the Toastmaster of the Day to be consistent when introducing every speaker.
Things to Avoid While Introducing a Speaker
Here are some things you should always try to avoid when introducing a speaker.
Never joke around. There are no situations that permit comedy in an introduction speech. Plus, it can draw attention from the speaker to yourself, which is never the goal. Especially never mention anything that can cause embarrassment to the speaker.
The introduction shouldn't appear as though you are reading the speaker's resume or biography. It shouldn't be an overstatement of his accomplishments, either.
Don't use a cliché. Statements like "This woman needs no introduction," or other clichés sound wordy or awkward. If the speaker needed no introduction, you wouldn't have a role in that event.
If you have personal or professional links with the speaker, keep them to yourself because the audience will interpret them as the introducer's prejudiced viewpoint.
Keep the introduction to no more than three minutes. Make it as brief as you can. Lengthy introductions sound like speeches and can reduce the audience's enthusiasm for the speaker.
During the introduction, keep your eyes on the audience rather than the speaker. Additionally, avoid seeming like you are reciting the introduction off a paper. Observe the crowd and make eye contact. Just before the introduction is through, turn to face the speaker.
Do not—absolutely do not—mispronounce the speaker's name. Not only is it disrespectful, but it could hurt your credibility and reputation as an introducer or host.
Give the audience a sneak peek of what they will learn and why they should pay attention without giving away too much about the guest speaker.
The introducer shouldn't try to overshadow the speaker by drawing attention to themselves. Remember, you are an introducer, not a celebrity or a star.
Conclusion: How to Introduce a Speaker
Knowing how to introduce a keynote speaker isn't rocket science. The role of an introducer is to simultaneously engage the guest speaker and audience while conveying to both parties that they are welcome at the event.
Just keep it straightforward and sincere, and be confident. Keep in mind that dull introductions are lengthy. Nobody shows up to an event to hear the introducer ramble. Follow the steps above, and you'll become a master of introductions in no time.
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