What You Say If You Introduce A Professional Speaker
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
Advice for Public Speakers
If you do a lot of public speaking, you need a pre-written introduction. You really do. It’s hazardous to leave your introductions to chance.
A great introduction literally launches your presentation. In fact, your presentation actually begins before you say a word. If you’ve ever watched a yacht’s sails catch a big burst of wind, that’s what a great introduction can do for you.
Remember these points when you prepare your introduction.
One. Write your introduction for the ear, not the eye. Read every word of your introduction aloud. Make sure what you say sounds natural.
Two. Give yourself credibility. Imagine that individuals in the audience are asking, “Why should I listen to this speaker?” Your introduction should answer that question. What have you done, where have you been, and what do you know?
Three. Make them smile, feel good. You want the audience to like you. In the sample introduction below–it’s an introduction that I use for some of my presentations–I include a little joke about myself. Be careful, though. Use self-deprecating humor judiciously. You want to sound human, but you don’t want to diminish your credibility.
Four. Ensure that your introduction is read properly. My own introduction includes a brief paragraph for the person who makes the introduction that emphasizes the importance of a good introduction. I request that extemporaneous remarks be made before he/she begins the introduction. I request that the introduction be read, not extemporized. I also provide phonetic spelling of words/names that might be mispronounced.
Five. Continuously improve and revise your introduction. Test it before your mastermind group. Watch how audiences react when it’s read.
Advice for Individuals Who Introduce Speakers
Ask the speaker if he or she has a prepared introduction. If it’s a professional speaker, the answer will almost certainly be yes.
Read the written introduction of the professional speaker word for word. It’s likely that the experienced public speaker has crafted that introduction word for word, sentence by sentence. You won’t be appreciated if you botch it or if you leave out something he or she wanted included.
The worst introductions I have ever received have come from individuals who thought of themselves as accomplished speakers, and who felt it beneath them to just read an introduction.
For example, Toastmasters are particularly guilty of this. Don’t misunderstand. I love Toastmasters. It’s a great organization. The first time I ever tried out a sample of my Lincoln one-person play was at a Toastmaster’s meeting.
But I have gotten some dreadful introductions from Toastmasters who tried to ad-lib my introduction, or tried to memorize it.
An introduction is NOT a place to show off your own virtuosity.
If you know the speaker really well, and feel that it will help if you tell something complimentary, go ahead and do it–briefly. But do your personal remarks PRIOR to reading the prepared introduction. And even then be careful. Ask yourself, Will what I say really help the speaker be a success?
A Sample Introduction
And now for a few words about our speaker. Dr. Gene Griessman has interviewed some of the most famous people of our time, including David Rockefeller, Ray Charles, Mary Kay, Julie Andrews, Aaron Copland, Ronald Reagan, and Tennessee Williams.
For over a decade, he was host of “Up Close” on TBS, the SuperStation founded by Ted Turner. He has been published in some of the world’s leading papers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today.
Dr. Griessman has written and co-authored a number of titles,in addition to his one-person play on Abraham Lincoln. He has performed at Ford’s Theatre, at the Lincoln Memorial, aboard the aircraft carrier the Abraham Lincoln, and before 25,000 at the Georgia Dome.
He is author of the best-seller TIME TACTICS OF VERY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE, THE WORDS LINCOLN LIVED BY, LINCOLN ON COMMUNICATION, 99 WAYS TO GET MORE OUT OF EVERY DAY, and LINCOLN SPEAKS TO LEADERS.
Dr. Griessman has taught at the College of William and Mary, North Carolina State University, Auburn University, and Georgia Tech. He has served as a Fulbright professor at the National Graduate University of Pakistan.
He has won the Benjamin Franklin Award. He has been listed in WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA and WHO’S WHO IN THE WORLD.
His topic today is LESSONS LEARNED FROM HIGH ACHIEVERS.
When Dr. Griessman was a boy, his goal was to play ball in the major leagues. He says just one thing kept him from becoming a big-league pitcher……….NO TALENT.
Now, help me give an enthusiastic_________welcome to Dr. Gene Griessman
“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.
“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives
A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.
You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.
Don’t leave yet. You’re in a goldmine. Check out the great power phrases and unusual quotations. Why rush off?