How To Introduce A High-Profile Speaker Such As A Religious Leader Or Politician: An Example By Gene Griessman, PhD
Recently I was asked to introduce Ken Futch, a Hall of Fame professional speaker. Afterward Futch told me it was the best introduction he’s ever received. If that’s even partly true, it’s quite a compliment because Ken Futch been introduced literally thousands of times.
The introduction that I gave is below.
(You may want to skip the next few paragraphs which contain some rules that I follow when I do an introduction.)
If you’re introducing a celebrity, chances are he/she will want you to read a prepared introduction verbatim.
But If you create the introduction yourself, here are some guidelines.
One. Brevity. Keep it short. If you steal the speaker’s precious time, the speaker will resent it, and so will the audience
Two. Credibility. Has the speaker written a book, won an award, spoken somewhere important? Again, keep it short. But not too short. If the speaker has done something really important, you need to tell it
Three. Complimentary description. What does the speaker do well?
Four. Humor. But be careful. What you think is funny may not be funny to the audience, or worse, may be embarrassing to the speaker.
Ask the speaker if it’s OK and if it passes that test, do a test run with other people to see if they think it’s funny. The rule to follow: If in doubt, don’t.
That said, here’s my introduction.
“I sometimes do a keynote that I call nine secrets of high achievers. And I make this statement:
‘If you want to be good at anything, find someone who’s really good at what you want to do, study them and do what they do.’
Our speaker this morning is worth studying because he does well what we all want to do: communicate effectively.
He’s presented often on national stages. And he’s an NSA Hall Of Fame speaker.
It’s been my good fortune to study his career up close and to know why he’s so exceptionally good at what he does.
One. he spends a lot of time preparing. He doesn’t wing it. I have known him spend hours on a two-minute presentation…just like Abraham Lincoln did for his two minutes at Gettysburg.
Two. He has deep knowledge of his subject matter. Competence is patterns stored in memory. He’s a humorist. He’s stored lots of patterns in his memory. He knows every joke that’s ever been told…since Noah and his family left the ark.
Three. He pays attention to small details. Whether you’re funny or not can depend on a single word, where it’s placed in a sentence, how it’s pronounced, how and when you pause.
It’s craft. And he is a master craftsman.
Lately he has begun to make a name for himself…giving eulogies at funerals. In fact people have started doing advance bookings.
I’ve long thought that you have not lived in vain if you get an obituary in The NY Times. But if you can’t manage that…a eulogy by our speaker..is the next best thing.
I know you’ll want to join me in giving a warm and enthusiastic welcome to my friend…Ken Futch.”
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You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.
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