There is a huge amount of psychology behind the significance of introductions. Have you ever witnessed an introduction that set the speaker up for success and built up just the right amount of audience anticipation? Have you ever experienced a lack lustre introduction void of energy, enthusiasm and endorsement? Never underestimate the power of a proper introduction that promotes with praise and passion!
We are often faced with occasions where we are called upon to make introductions. These introductions can vary from a small group setting involving as few as three individuals up to a large group at a business function. Never underestimate your ability to positively influence the outcome of a meeting or presentation by properly introducing a guest or speaker.
A proper introduction will accomplish several objectives including:
- To satisfy audience curiosity and take the potential mystery out of the guests’ presence and to clear the audience’s mind so they can focus on the message or the issue at hand.
- To build a bridge for acceptance of the speakers’ presence and the message they convey.
- Using your influence to add impact to the speaker or guests’ presence and message.
- To put the speaker or guest at ease by verbalizing your seal of approval on their expertise or position of authority.
- Setting the stage for their role in a meeting (whether it is a formal or informal occasion.)
- Letting the audience or listener know what the guest or speaker is there for and what value they bring to the table.
- To ease the audience or listener’s comfort level with the person that you are introducing.
- Showing respect for the person you are introducing and the person(s) that you are introducing them to.
- Building the speaker up in the eyes of the audience or listener without going overboard and setting unrealistic expectations.
- Simplify the speakers task because anything positive that you’re able say about them is always going to sound better coming from a third party.
A great introduction will be done with enthusiasm and conviction. It shouldn’t be delivered with any uncertainty and the statements made should never sound like they have a question mark at the end. You will pronounce the person’s name as if you have known them for years. If you don’t know the person very well then ask them for the correct pronunciation of their name and practice it a few times so that you are comfortable saying their name. There should be no hesitation or doubt in your voice as you make your announcement. Make certain that you have your facts straight about the speaker or guests professional background and area of expertise. There is nothing more embarrassing then being introduced as something that you are not. It can place the speaker in the awkward position of having to decide whether or not they should discredit the person who has introduced them or leave the audience or listener with a false claim that may jeopardize their professional credibility.
If you are in a position where you are responsible to introduce someone and you either neglect to do so, or fail to do an adequate job, you force the speaker or guest to spend precious time building up their own credibility. This can put even the most confident of people in an challenging sink or swim predicament. The same can apply when you oversell your guest to the listeners. If you make your introduction too powerful and set the bar of expectation too high then the presenter may feel the need to downplay your comments to compensate for your over exuberance.
When you are speaking or presenting remember it is your responsibility to provide some key points that can be used by the person introducing you. Always keep in mind that as an experienced presenter although you understand the importance of a strong introduction the person introducing you may not, so the more you can do to help them, help you, the more it will work to your advantage! Likewise when the tables are turned and you are expected to set the speaker up for success, do your homework in advance, ask for information prior to the introduction and rehearse your introduction to ensure that you can deliver it smoothly and graciously!
“It only takes one solitary light to guide a thousand ships in from the dark.”